The Town of Morris has heard back from the Province on its request to make an exception to the Disaster Financial Assistance Program for businesses financially impacted by the spring flood.
Mayor Scott Crick says local business owners were unable to submit a DFA claim because their businesses didn't physically get damaged by flood waters, but the impacts Crick says they felt also didn't fit the requirements to claim business interruption insurance because the Town's dike never fully closed.
"So we did petition the government twice to ask if they could look at our specific situations and potentially find some ways that we could help local business. We did receive a response last week (and) that response was clearly a 'no'. Unfortunately, it did not hit their funding models," explained Crick.
However, Council isn't deterred by this outcome, and Crick says they will continue to reach out to the Province and advocate for local businesses.
Additionally, the Mayor says he's seeing a disconnect between the provincial government and what's happening in rural communities.
"This isn't the first time in the last four years and it may not be the last time," he said. "That failure to recognize that we have some very unique situations that we don't have control over. If Highway 75 (south of town) had been completed, we wouldn't have had the closure that we did and yet, our businesses and our community suffer for these things."
A provincial spokesperson provided the following comment:
The Manitoba government is pleased to roll out a significant Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) program to support Manitobans in addressing the cost of damages related to spring flooding. This year’s DFA program was announced while spring flood was underway to ensure that assistance was timely given the size of the event. The Manitoba government has received over 100 municipal claims, over 6,000 damaged sites, and over 1,600 private applications. The DFA program is expected to provide tens of millions of dollars in assistance across Manitoba.
The DFA program is available to local governments, occupied private primary residential properties, farms, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. DFA is a program of last resort and is limited to assisting claimants with damages eligible under the DFA program guidelines, which align with the Government of Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. The loss of income or opportunity is not an eligible damage under the program.