The MLA for the Springfield-Ritchot riding recently announced $195,000 in funding through the Mitigation and Preparedness Program.
Ron Schuler says " It is a good program, it comes under Disaster Financial Assistance or DFA and it follows behind it. In the case of our community, it is just shy of $200,000, $63K for Ritchot and almost $137K for Springfield.”
Schuler notes unlike most money received through the Disaster Financial Assistance Program, this funding doesn’t have an expiry date.
“What we allow municipalities to do is to hold the money back, keep it in reserves though it has to be earmarked for flood mitigation, and then they can get all of the engineering done. If it is under DFA, that money expires whereas now we allow you to hold onto it and then when the construction starts, you use that money for the project.”
This is very important with flood mitigation projects. Schuler notes when something fails, we cannot just build it back to its previous standard, only for it to fail again. We need to take the time to do these things right so that we can avoid future disasters.
Schuler adds, this will also allow both Ritchot and Springfield to continue making necessary preparations between flood seasons.
“It's like your insurance policy. Who reads their insurance policy when there is beautiful weather, right? The minute you have flooding around your house then all of a sudden you haul it out and everybody becomes a professional on their insurance policy. These kinds of things are really important to do now and not wait for the next high-water event.”
Ever since the flood of 1997, standards have been raised in the Red River Valley and Schuler notes we got to see the benefits this past spring. He says the high-water event we experienced was tough, but nothing compared to what it would have been had we not heavily invested in flood mitigation over the years.
Finally, Schuler notes it has been a good year for his riding $173M of provincial funding has been invested in Ritchot, Springfield, and Niverville.