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'It came in too late': N.S. wildfire modular homes largely unused

Four months after the wildfires swept through Nova Scotia, charred trees and burned out house lots are still prominent on the drive through Hammonds Plains.

“For those who have had to completely rebuild that’s a really complex process,” says the area’s Councillor, Pam Lovelace. “Working with their insurance company, finding a builder that they are happy to work with, getting access to their designs.”

To help in the interim, the province of Nova Scotia spent almost $7.5 million on 25 fully-furnished modular homes that are available for rent.

“I believe we have five committed. Three in Shelburne, one in Barrington and I think one in Tantallon. I have to double check that, that’s right off the top of my head,” says Housing Minister, John Lohr.

“It came in too late,” says Councillor Lovelace.

The fires tore through neighbourhoods in Hammonds Plains and Tantallon on May 28. 16,000 people were forced to flee, and 151 homes were destroyed.

“The majority of people who could have used that had already entered into a lease agreement, they needed to find a safe place for their kids and their family so they went hunting for an apartment and signed a long-term lease.”

Sixty homes in Shelburne also burned along with a number of cottages and other buildings. Lohr says if the modular homes aren’t used for fire relief, they won’t be left empty. Using them to fight the homeless crisis is one option.

“That or I’ll ask my staff to look into what we can do if there’s someone who is flooded out that needs one, we want to make use of them, that was our commitment in the beginning so we were looking at that,” says Minister Lohr

Rents for the two and three bedroom modular homes will be between $2,000-$3,000 dollars a month. According to the province, leases will be month-to-month to ensure flexibility.

For some folks they didn’t have insurance and so that has been a very difficult process for them to come up the funds without having the insurance company to support them.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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