Police direct traffic during evacuation of Williams Lake as wildfires threatened access highways, July 2017. (Black Press files)

B.C. Red Cross offers more wildfire assistance to business

Local MLAs say the program is too slow, not suitable for remote people

The B.C. government has launched its second phase of recovery funds for small businesses affected by the record area of the B.C. Interior burned by wildfires this summer.

The latest financial assistance provides up to $18,500 for eligible businesses and $8,500 not-for-profit organizations. The first phase provided $1,500 for each eligible applicant and received 2,900 applications.

Eligibility information for the next phase is available at the Canadian Red Cross website along with application forms. Applications will be accepted until April 6, 2018.

Financial assistance is designed to at least partially compensate businesses for uninsured losses, insurance deductibles, minor repairs, cleanup, equipment and occupational training expenses. The Red Cross decides on the eligible amount for each application.

“Although the emergency phase of the wildfires has passed, the road to recovery can be long,” said Kimberley Nemrava, Red Cross vice-president for B.C. and Yukon. 

MLAs from the affected areas said the effort so far has been too little and too late.

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said she has business owners in her constituency who applied for the first phase as early as Aug. 12 and didn’t receive assistance until October. Making people apply for the second phase and going case by case is impractical in many cases, she said.

“We’ve been travelling out in the remote areas,” Oakes said. “You have no cell service. Local phones aren’t hooked up. You don’t have power. You don’t have water. People are just trying to get on with their lives.”

RELATED: Ottawa adds ‘kick in guts’ for wildfire victims

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said families with sick children in remote areas have not been helped. Businesses include guide-outfitters and trappers, and “many don’t fit in the box.”

Donaldson said cases that don’t meet the criteria for assistance are being reviewed case by case, but Barnett was not encouraged.

“We go home every weekend and this is what we talk about,” Barnett said. “We’ve got people who are trying to help one another as best they can. The only thing that’s going to help them is some funding to get their lives back in order.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturebc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City hall refurbishment comes in nearly $500,000 over budget

Revelstoke City Council voted unanimously to move forward despite the increased cost

Williamson Lake to open June 1

The park will be open for day use as well as camping

New task force to look at closing roads to vehicles in downtown Revelstoke

Councillor Cody Younker moved to have the Economic Recovery Task Force do stakeholder engagement

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for May 28

New cigar store, first rememberance day and May Day celebrations

Revelstoke City Hall to re-open June 1

Drop-in hours will be limited and appointments are available

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Grand Forks braces for river flooding amid warm weather and rain

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Okanagan toddler airlifted to hospital after suffering serious burns

Vernon’s Advanced Life Support paramedic crew was called to the scene in Enderby Thursday afternoon

Princeton schools ready to open Monday

Parents are must now decide whether their children will go back to… Continue reading

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Summerland businesses optimistic as reopening begins

Businesses make plans for restructuring as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed

Non-food vendors coming back to Kelowna farmers’ market this weekend

The Kelowna Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market is welcoming back several artisans on Saturday

Improper waste disposal leaves Okanagan worker with serious injury

The city’s waste collection contractor has seen two incidents of improper disposal in as many weeks

Most Read