Federal funding of $9 million available to communities affected by post-tropical storm Fiona
Communities hit last year by post-tropical storm Fiona can access $9 million in federal funding to help bolster facilities that can offer refuge to residents affected by the next big storm.
The money comes from the $300-million Hurricane Fiona Recovery Fund that was announced shortly after the massive storm devastated parts of Atlantic Canada one year ago this Sunday. Fiona’s powerful winds and heavy rain swept homes out to sea, and severely damaged bridges, businesses, airports and other infrastructure.
Gudie Hutchings, federal minister of rural economic development, made the funding announcement Friday at Summer Street Industries, in New Glasgow, N.S. The facility offers training, education and employment programs to people with disabilities, but it was used as a comfort centre for those forced from their homes because of Fiona.
“Fiona hit nearly a year ago and we’re here on a site that was so critical to helping people in need at that time,” Hutchings said. `”Having access to designated climate comfort centres like this meant a place to get a warm meal, a hot coffee, charge your phones and connect with your family.”
The minister said the money will help designated facilities purchase such things as power generators, satellite phones, blankets and cots, and make necessary improvements to serve the public. Applications received by Nov. 17 will be given priority consideration and funded through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Areas eligible for the $9 million include Newfoundland’s southwest coast; Prince Edward Island; Cape Breton and Nova Scotia’s Antigonish, Guysborough, Pictou, Cumberland and Colchester counties; coastal areas of Westmorland and Kent counties, in New Brunswick; along with Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Que.
The Atlantic funding agency is responsible for administering $110 million of federal Fiona-recovery aid, which has been used for such things as wharf repair. In January, the agency announced $40 million over two years to help East Coast mussel and oyster farmers with damage caused by the storm.
Hutchings couldn’t say how much money is left for her organization to distribute.
“There’s not very much money left, most of it is spent now,” she said.
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