British Columbia pledges $30 million to help flood victims

Written by By Cris Nelson, Contributing Writer In a bid to attract more future visitors, British Columbia has pledged $30 million (CAD) to rebuild damaged agricultural fairs and festivals. The announcement comes in the…

British Columbia pledges $30 million to help flood victims

Written by By Cris Nelson, Contributing Writer

In a bid to attract more future visitors, British Columbia has pledged $30 million (CAD) to rebuild damaged agricultural fairs and festivals.

The announcement comes in the wake of flooding last month which left more than a thousand people homeless and destroyed gardens and housing in the Fraser Valley area of the province.

“All of this was a natural disaster, and we’re very fortunate we didn’t have any loss of life,” Premier John Horgan said in a press conference Tuesday.

An aerial view of agricultural fairs and festivals across Canada

Many agricultural fairs and festivals in British Columbia suffered damages and losses because of flooding. Photo © Getty Images.

Last month’s deluge became the province’s worst flood in more than 25 years, with 250 homes and 2,000 vehicles damaged. Only 50 people have so far been accounted for, according to the British Columbia government.

The funds will be handed out to those affected at fairs and festivals across the province, as well as government agencies.

“We anticipate that as funds are allocated, people will find that they’ll receive money to repair the damage they’ve incurred,” said Peter Linebaugh, acting deputy minister of emergency management.

“That’s going to be distributed as you’d see it happening at fair time and fair seasons across the province,” he said.

British Columbia will spend $30 million to help the growers and manufacturers who helped build the province. Photo © Getty Images.

The proposal was made after consultation with the provincial Agriculture and B.C. wine industries.

The province’s entire crop of 13,000 to 16,000 wineries was spared serious damage. However, the producers are among those that will receive financial assistance.

The British Columbia Association of Wine producers estimates the losses at $4 million from the floods, with the crop expected to produce just 2% more at 13 million bottles — which is the equivalent of 500 million cases of wine.

‘It’s been good for the province’

Horgan said Tuesday the flood will help the agricultural and tourism sectors.

“We’re going to rebuild this and we’re going to make it work,” he said. “And I think it’s going to be very good for the province.”

Tourism Canada says B.C. saw 8% growth in tourists this year, in large part thanks to the nation’s landlocked status. Photo © Getty Images.

The province will spend the funds on the event recovery program.

Tourism Canada estimates the country’s agriculture industry is worth an estimated C$12 billion ($8.5 billion).

The country’s top produce source is British Columbia, which produced more than 1 billion kilograms of apples, 120 million kilograms of sweet corn, 75 million kilograms of tomatoes, and more than 40 million kilograms of berries — despite being located on the other side of the international border from neighboring California.

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