TRURO – Truro and Colchester County will be the first in the province to take advantage of multi-million dollar funding for flood mitigation.
The provincial government announced on Friday afternoon that $3 million annually for five years, totalling $15 million, will be available towards flood issues. One million of that is guaranteed to this area, as a pilot project, within the next year. The money will be used based on flood assessment projects ($300,000) and infrastructure projects ($700,000).
In addition, $2 million will be granted throughout the province for agricultural and dike issues.
Beginning next year, the county and town will have to apply for funding as would other communities throughout the province. Money would be granted based on priority situations and could cover up to 50 per cent of approved projects.
Local politicians and residents are thrilled with the news, which was presented in Truro by Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann.
“I’m as happy as can be. That’s a big start,” Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor told the Truro Daily News.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time … we’d like to see some (related) work happen in the summer or fall,” including dredging rivers and putting channels in the Salmon River mostly and the North River.
Taylor said another aerial engineering study, valued upwards of $400,000, could be done. He added the county will also decide how much to designate for flood mitigation in its 2013-2014 budget.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills is also ecstatic with the provincial funding.
“I’m very, very surprised at how the province responded. I didn’t know it would be on the scale it was … it’s rather substantial,” Mills told this paper, adding the town’s budget for the next year will be passed during Monday’s town council meeting. It, too, will include money for flooding mitigation.
Mills said the provincial money will help with the town’s storm water runoff system and projects such as ditching and the creation of holding ponds. The ponds may go near the Truro Elementary School and another one, on Coburg Crescent, may be checked to see if it’s working properly.
Mills said the money and advancement of projects related to flooding should be a “relief” to the public.
Ford Street resident Francis Collins was indeed pleased with the funding. Collins was one of about 40 people who attended the announcement and feels the funding is a step forward.
“It’s a good thing. We had (public) meetings … the government listened to us,” said Collins. “I’d like to see them get (working) in the Salmon River and Park Street.”
Zann said more than $2.1 million of provincial money has recently been put towards flooding issues in this area.
Flooding “can never be completely eliminated” but it’s “time to take proactive steps (with) practical, real solutions,” Zann said.