Police direct traffic during evacuation of Williams Lake as wildfires threatened access highways, July 2017. (Black Press files)

B.C. Red Cross offers more wildfire assistance to business

Local MLAs say the program is too slow, not suitable for remote people

The B.C. government has launched its second phase of recovery funds for small businesses affected by the record area of the B.C. Interior burned by wildfires this summer.

The latest financial assistance provides up to $18,500 for eligible businesses and $8,500 not-for-profit organizations. The first phase provided $1,500 for each eligible applicant and received 2,900 applications.

Eligibility information for the next phase is available at the Canadian Red Cross website along with application forms. Applications will be accepted until April 6, 2018.

Financial assistance is designed to at least partially compensate businesses for uninsured losses, insurance deductibles, minor repairs, cleanup, equipment and occupational training expenses. The Red Cross decides on the eligible amount for each application.

“Although the emergency phase of the wildfires has passed, the road to recovery can be long,” said Kimberley Nemrava, Red Cross vice-president for B.C. and Yukon. 

MLAs from the affected areas said the effort so far has been too little and too late.

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes said she has business owners in her constituency who applied for the first phase as early as Aug. 12 and didn’t receive assistance until October. Making people apply for the second phase and going case by case is impractical in many cases, she said.

“We’ve been travelling out in the remote areas,” Oakes said. “You have no cell service. Local phones aren’t hooked up. You don’t have power. You don’t have water. People are just trying to get on with their lives.”

RELATED: Ottawa adds ‘kick in guts’ for wildfire victims

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said families with sick children in remote areas have not been helped. Businesses include guide-outfitters and trappers, and “many don’t fit in the box.”

Donaldson said cases that don’t meet the criteria for assistance are being reviewed case by case, but Barnett was not encouraged.

“We go home every weekend and this is what we talk about,” Barnett said. “We’ve got people who are trying to help one another as best they can. The only thing that’s going to help them is some funding to get their lives back in order.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Growing protests over U.S. school shootings felt in Victoria

Greater Victoria School District officials confident about student safety in local schools

Latitude 48 Paddling Club races through Victoria waters

Local team clinched victory in Nanaimo to kick off season that will see them compete in Hawaii

Brentwood Bay hosts 24-hour cancer fundraiser

Monster and Sea 24-hour Paddle is grassroots fundraiser

Greater Victoria police busy with St. Patrick’s Day calls

Victoria police respond to 82 calls for service

Royals gear up for WHL playoffs after suffering season-worst loss

Victoria has a solid 7-3 record this year against opening-round opponent Vancouver

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

America’s Musical Journey premieres at the IMAX

Enter to win tickets to an invite only concert at your community newspaper’s Facebook page

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Federal committee to examine human trafficking in Canada

The Commons committee plans on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Most Read