Mayor and Councillors approved a series of motions addressing critical needs tied to the 2020 River Break Up Flood.
They met on May 6, 2020, for a special RMWB Council meeting.
It was the first meeting since the devastating flood that occurred on April 27-28, 2020.
Mayor Don Scott, who introduced the motion, previously estimated the total damage from the flooding at $100-million.
He said despite verbal assurances from government ministers, the RMWB is yet to earn approval for the Disaster Relief Program (DRP).
“This region needs help. Without significant financial help, we’re going to see a lot of residents in financial ruin.”
Mayor Scott said the provincial cabinet must introduce their case for approval for the DRP.
If approved, the program would assist residents and businesses that encountered “extraordinary events”.
Mayor Don Scott said Wood Buffalo suffered from the flood, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a boil water advisory.
“The DRP program helps people and businesses out for extraordinary events. [From history], it’s for uninsurable losses only; overland flooding is an uninsurable peril so it should be covered.”
He added they must launch their appeal quickly while it is top-of-mind with the province.
— rmwoodbuffalo (@RMWoodBuffalo) May 7, 2020
The motion covers three items.
That the Mayor’s office writes to Alberta requesting it instates the DRP, and to the federal government asking for financial relief and assistance with flood mitigation.
The second item speaks to the RMWB seeking reimbursement from the DRP to cover the towing of flood-impacted vehicles and the costs of food and accommodation for registered evacuees.
Finally, the third item, which RMWB Council severed into three separate motions, directs the administration to draft bylaw amendments for the following:
- Land Use Bylaw amendment(s) required to temporarily relax RV parking restrictions, with the intent to allow residents impacted by the flood the opportunity to park and stay in recreational vehicles/campers on their property until repairs are complete or August 31, 2020, whichever date first occurs;
- Land Use Bylaw amendment to require any applicants for business licenses issued for work arising as a result of the State of Local Emergency (SOLE) after or during a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) must have a Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo address for at least 90 days prior to the SOLE being called to be considered a local business if legally permitted to do so for such period as administration determines appropriate;
- Fees, Rates and Charges Bylaw amendment to reduce water billing fees for homes impacted by the current Alberta Health Services Boil Water Advisory as a result of the 2020 River Break Up Flood, for the duration of the Advisory as it applies to their particular neighbourhood or community.
RMWB Council voted unanimously in favour of four of the five total motions.
The second severed motion passed by a 9-to-1 margin.
Mayor Don Scott said the severed three motions shows local businesses they want to help them get back to work.
The next RMWB Council meeting is May 12, 2020, via teleconference.