Bills keep pouring in from New Brunswick flood
The water receded weeks ago, but the costs keep climbing as bills and invoices keep pouring in from New Brunswick's historic flood.
Costs are already well into the millions of dollars, but the final numbers won't be known for months as municipalities and the province add up the cost of all the work to try to hold back rising waters and keep roads open – plus the cost of undoing all those temporary measures once floodwaters receded.
In Saint John, the cost of the flood is now estimated at just over a million dollars.
“The million dollars is less than I had expected,” said Saint John Coun. David Merrithew.
Merrithew cautions that flood-related bills will trickle in for months to come. He says about 60 per cent will be covered by the provincial government.
“We've been back and forth with the province and we're fairly comfortable with that figure,” said Merrithew, who is a member of the city’s finance committee. “We think that things like HST should be reimbursed and it is now. However, we're fairly comfortable with the figure we had last night, which is just shy of $600,000.”
The city of Fredericton is also adding up the bills. Municipal officials hope to have a preliminary damage estimate in about a week.
Dozens of provincial roads and bridges were damaged. The most recent repair estimate there is $19 million.
Throughout all this tallying of work already completed, relief work goes on.
“Over six weeks since this began (and) we still have 143 individuals in emergency accommodations,” says Bill Lawlor of the Canadian Red Cross. “They're in hotels throughout the province.”
The Red Cross has already distributed about $200,000 in emergency assistance from its New Brunswick flood appeal. A much bigger outlay is coming for some of the hardest hit.
“We've set aside $600,000 for those individuals,” he said. “We don't have an exact number of those who will be impacted and the remaining balance of our funds will be channeled toward the most severely impacted.”
No one is even attempting to put a ballpark figure on what is expected to be the biggest single cost of the flood of 2018. That will be the total repair bill for all those hundreds of homes and cottages that have been extensively damaged or, in some cases, destroyed.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.