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Ritchot Approves Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness Reserve Fund

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Ritchot Council Meeting Crop1
Ritchot's council meets on June 23. Brenda Sawatzky

On Wednesday, June 23, the RM of Ritchot’s council voted unanimously in favour of opening a reserve fund which will be used for projects or expenditures that help mitigate the effects of local flooding in future years.

The opening deposit to the account will come to just over $50,000 and is the result of a recently established initiative of the provincial government called the Mitigation and Preparedness Program.

“This program is quite unique and special,” says CAO Mitch Duval. “It’s a very good move from the province to have initiated this. I think we can do a lot of work in Ritchot with that kind of dollars.”

Duval explained that, after any major flood event of the past, the RM has been able to apply to the province for reimbursement of expenses incurred by the municipality for flood relief efforts.

The province, operating similar to an insurance company, reimburses the RM a certain percentage of their claim, holding back a portion as a deductible. The deductible withheld is calculated based on the RM’s population as of the most recent census.

Under the recently announced provincial program, though, an RM can now apply to receive the deductible back as well, thus receiving a one hundred percent reimbursement of any money spent on flood relief efforts.

Unlike the principal payout, the returned deductible must be put into a reserve fund and used specifically for the purposes of future flood preparedness and mitigation.

“The first sum will likely be around the $54,000 mark, which would represent the deductible for our 2020 flood event,” says Duval. “So that money would come back to the municipality and be put into the reserve for future use.”

Duval says that, since the RM made no claims for flood relief in 2021, the next time he’ll be able to apply for the deductible reimbursement will be sometime after their 2022 claim has been fully processed.

The province is allowing municipalities a five-year window in which the reserve fund must be spent, although Duval is confident that an extension would be easily granted if council wanted to consider a longer-term project which might exceed the deadline.

Whatever council decides to allocate the reserve fund to—whether it’s pumps, generators, engineer studies, or other things—Duval suggests that the spending should be kept to items or projects that fall under municipal jurisdiction.

Projects like dike expansion, he says, fall under provincial jurisdiction and separate funds would be available from the province for that.

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