Bergen-area tornado victims receive grant



Municipal Affairs denies Mountain View County request for disaster recovery program to help tornado victims cover property damage

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – The county is pleased that victims of a tornado that caused widespread damage south of Sundre in early July are getting provincial support after all, according to Warden Angela Aalbers.

“We were pleased that Minister (Jason) Nixon’s office did communicate to our residents that we were going to be getting a grant through Alberta Agriculture and Forestry,” Aalbers said at the council meeting on April 14. september. “I think this is a huge win for our residents. I was really losing hope that we would get anything, so I think that’s a really big advantage.

“I’ve already had a conversation with one of the residents who I think takes it to the extreme that it means, which is to say any money I don’t have to spend cleaning the trees is money I can spend on other things I need to do.

The July 7 tornado and storm caused extensive damage east of Bergen, including the destruction of scores of trees on private land.

On September 8, the county was notified by Provincial Municipal Affairs that a request for Disaster Recovery Program funding to help tornado victims cover property damage had been denied.

In a follow-up letter to affected residents, MP and Finance Minister Jason Nixon said the county’s application was denied because it did not meet the program’s eligibility criteria due to “insurance being easily and reasonably available”.

“The county’s efforts to seek funding, on behalf of affected landowners, through the provincial disaster recovery program are now complete and unsuccessful,” Nixon said.

However, Nixon later said a different arrangement was made to provide support.

“Although Municipal Affairs programs did not apply to your situation, I am pleased to share that Agriculture and Forestry (have) agreed to create a grant for Mountain View County to clean up large areas of downed trees and debris from the tornado,” he said.

“This grant is for clearing trees to prevent future fire and disease risks to the community and nearby forest reserve. Forest officials will be in contact with the county to arrange the details of this grant.

“I hope this tree removal grant will help address some of the major damage remaining in the area.”

During her Sept. 14 report to council, Warden Aalbers said county officials expect to move forward with government officials in the coming days.

“Jeff (Holmes, county administrative manager) and his team will begin working with agriculture and forestry staff to help develop the grant framework,” Aalbers said.

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