Damage from this year’s flooding in Fort Simpson amounts to well over $5 million, initial estimates quoted by the village’s mayor suggest.
May’s floods displaced around 700 people and damaged many homes and businesses on the community’s island. On Tuesday, Mayor Sean Whelly shared details of the latest damage estimate on Facebook, quoting information he said had been sent on behalf of cabinet minister and Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson.
Damage to infrastructure – 64 homes, 29 businesses and four “society type organizations” – extends to some $4.3 million, according to the numbers quoted by Whelly. That total is expected to rise as assessments of five businesses are reportedly not yet complete.
Damage to the contents of those properties is so far estimated at a further $1 million – $554,000 for homes, $441,000 for businesses, and $31,000 for societies. Eleven assessments are outstanding.
Writing on Facebook, Whelly said the estimated cost of repairing the 64 homes – $1.8 million of the $4.3 million – appeared to be a “gross underestimate” if it included the cost of completely replacing some properties.
The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs on Thursday clarified to Cabin Radio that the $1.8 million figure does not include that cost.
“The $1.8 million represents the assessed damage estimate. It does not represent the labour costs associated with the work to do the repairs or an additional 30-percent costing that Maca added,” the department said by email.
“It also does not include the cost for homes that need to be replaced and the homes that need to be raised.”
The territorial government in June pledged to cover all repairs for flood-affected residents “to restore private, primary homes to pre-disaster condition.” The GNWT also said it would replace homes outright where necessary.
Maca says six homes in Fort Simpson will need to be replaced. “The costs associated with that are not yet defined because work scoping the project is currently ongoing,” a spokesperson said.
Whelly told Cabin Radio some residents are not convinced their houses will be fixed before winter settles in, as the territorial government has promised.
The mayor said some residents were already feeling the cold at night as they have no heat in their homes because of damaged equipment.
Ollie Williams contributed reporting.