RM declares a disaster zone

Manager of public works for the RM of Meadow Lake Doug Murray looks upon a section of trees where the tops were snapped off, following the July 18 storm

By Rhonda Cooper

An application to the provincial has been made by the Meadow Lake RM No. 588 to be declared a local disaster zone.

Division 5 councillor Perry Brookes, whose area was the hardest hit during the July 18 storm brought forth the motion at a special July 25 meeting of council.

Should the application to the Ministry of Correction, Public Safety and Policing under the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) be approved, financial assistance would be available for the restoration of essential services and property damaged by the plow winds.

“We already had a meeting scheduled,” said acting administrator Claire Elliott. “So it was a good time to deal with it otherwise it wouldn’t have been addressed until the August meeting.”

With the motion passed, Elliott and RM Road Consultant Lenn Lennea travelled to the worst hit areas where they took photos.

A letter stating the type of damages sustained, along with the photos was submitted at least two weeks ago. The RM is currently waiting for a formal response.

“When a municipality is hit by a disaster, there is usually a three to four day turn around time for processing the application,” stated Noel Mcavena, Financial Manager of PDAP.

Once approval is received a package of guidelines and applications are sent to the local office and an adjustor is assigned. How fast claims are screened for eligibility depends upon the adjustor’s current workload.

“As of today (Aug. 11) we have had 3,274 claims,” said Mcavena. “In 2010, we processed 6,204 claims, a record year.”

“We are receiving roughly 200 claims per week,” he said, which puts the program on pace to surpass last year’s total.

While all roadways are open in the Meadow Lake RM, there are still a substantial number of trees to be removed.

Doug Murray, manager of public works for the RM of Meadow Lake, indicated the pace may pick up should the municipality be declared a disaster zone.

“We may be able to push back the trees and not have to worry about fences,” he said.

“There is no emergency clean-up left,” he said. “Everybody is getting in and out (on the roads).”

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