The federal government is releasing a second portion of the approximately $5 billion in disaster recovery funds it has promised B.C.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced the new $870-million advance payment on Monday (July 18), the second chunk of money to come through since the feds threw their financial support behind B.C. in December.
In June, they sent along an initial amount of $207 million aimed at assisting communities impacted by 2021’s wildfires.
The funds are in response to B.C.’s initial estimate that rebuilding from the damage of 2021’s wildfires and atmospheric river and flooding will cost about $5 billion.
B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general Mike Farnworth said the fresh $870 million will be used in various ways, including fixing roads and flood-damaged areas and in the province’s ongoing work rebuilding washed out sections of highways, such as the Coquihalla and Highway 1.
He didn’t provide a timeline on when the remainder of the $5 billion would be received, but said B.C. will request money from the feds as it submits its projects and expenses.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has called the floods and slides the most costly weather event in B.C.’s history. As of June, it estimates the insured losses amount to $675 million. It says another $102 million in insured damages came from the Lytton wildfire, and $77 million from the White Rock Lake wildfire.
Farnworth said the province doesn’t yet know what the final cost of repairs will be, but that the $5 billion is a good initial estimate.