Crisis & Recovery Progress Report
ONGOING RECOVERY | PROGRESS REPORT
Two weeks following the May 2011 wildfires, residents had begun to make their way back home. Although infrastructure has been largely restored and reconstruction is well underway, it will take years for the region to fully recover. However, mere months after disaster had struck, the MD has made great strides toward creating a stronger, safer and more prosperous collective communities. Proactive measures have also been taken to help combat any future crises that may occur. Below are some of the highlights of the MD's recovery progress to date.
Taxation: The Provincial Government approved a Property Tax Rebate for 2011 for properties that were destroyed or uninhabitable. Residents who lost homes do not have to pay property taxes in 2011, and the government will reimburse the MD for loss of the municipal portion of taxes through this program.
Finance: MD Finance administers the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) to provide processes and controls to deal with money being spent during the disaster, and to ensure accountability. All bills for both the Town and MD disaster recovery have been paid, and continue to be paid by the MD. Once bills are reviewed and paid they, are submitted to the Alberta Emergency Management Association for approval and reimbursement.
Water & Sewer: Many affected residents in Canyon Creek and Widewater have recently entered into a repayment agreement with the MD for the installation of a new sewer system that is being phased in through the Southshore Communities (the adjoining Hamlets of Wagner, Widewater and Canyon Creek). Approximately 20 new systems were damaged or destroyed by the fire. Throughout the summer, the MD's sewer contractor has put many new sewer installations on hold to repair or re-install systems damaged by the fire. New repayment agreements have been entered into with residents in these areas. If insurance fails to cover the original system, the resident will be responsible to pay both contracts.
Planning and Development: All development permit fees were waived for both lost homes and out buildings. Council has also agreed to temporarily amend the land use bylaw to allow for temporary accommodations (second residence) on-site for up to two years.
Temporary Housing: MD staff has worked closely with Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs to set up temporary trailers on MD properties. At the end of October 2011, there were only a handful of residents waiting to occupy their temporary residence.
Regional Landfill: The landfill's existing cell (an area where solid waste is stored) had roughly three years left before a new one was needed. In the wake of the fire, this cell is nearing capacity and a new one will be required. The Regional Landfill has received approval from Alberta Environment, and is now able to work toward a class II cell expansion.
Communications: In response to public criticism during the crisis, and in an effort to provide more effective communications to residents, Council and Administration have developed a broader, more professional and more fail-safe communications strategy with the municipal website at its core. The MD plans a more consistent presence via community kiosks and local media outlets to augment its online communications activities.
Files/Technology/Mapping: The MD is adding an off-site system to its regular data backup procedures in order to safeguard digital assets in the event of a future threat to the administration buildings. Work has also begun to acquire a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will provide the MD with more accurate real-time geographic data. Though the Regional Wildfire Recovery Plan, the MD will focus on the development of an evacuation process/warning system.
- Economic Development
- Fire & Protective Services
- Human Resources
- Planning & Development
- Public Works
- Assessment & Taxation
- Bylaw Enforcement
- Family & Community Support
- Health Care
- Mapping & Geographics
- Waste & Recycling
- NEWS & EVENTS
- VISIT US
- CONTACT US
- SITE MAP
- CRISIS & RECOVERY
- Disaster Timeline
- Emergency Operations
- Evacuation Efforts
- The Aftermath
- Ongoing Recovery
- Planning for the Future
- Multimedia Library
Listen to the personal accounts of those who weathered the fires.