Regional district contemplates emergency funding

The Strathcona Regional District board is considering its options for how to pay for damage sustained in unforeseen emergencies

The Strathcona Regional District board is considering its options for how to pay for damage sustained in unforeseen emergencies.

The issue was prompted by intensive flooding that occurred last December 8 when a severe storm caused major flooding,  and damaged the Oyster River Dike.

The estimated cost to repair the dike was $45,500 but because the regional district has no service, or fund, set up to specifically address that type of emergency repair, the money was to instead come out of the regional district’s general administration fund.

Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s financial services manager, said in a report to the board that it has the option of establishing a reserve responsible for bearing the cost of restoring, removing or replacing any regional district assets damaged in a disaster or severe weather event.

“If a damaged asset is not associated with a specific regional district service, then by default the costs to reinstate it would fall to the regional district as a whole and be borne by the general administration service through such funds as they may be available,” Christenson said.

“The board may establish reserves by bylaw and specify purpose, source of funding, or other details regarding the reserve. Through its financial planning process, the board may choose to raise taxes to fund contributions to reserves, or to designate other sources of revenue as contributions to reserves.”

Area D Director Brenda Leigh said she was in full support of setting aside emergency repair funding to ensure the regional district can take advantage of the province’s Disaster Financial Assistance program which provides 80 per cent of the repair costs if the regional district can put up 20 per cent.

“This is a no-brainer to vote yes for – $15,000 attracts almost $56,000 in emergency funding and this relates back mostly to the flooding in December when a lot of properties were damaged,” Leigh said.

Area C Director and board chair Jim Abram took a different approach.

“Whether this is a no-brainer or not, what we have before us is a report with some options; we’re not making a decision to do anything right now.”