ALBERTA

Minister Derek Bilous Calls Alberta Relief Program 'A Disaster'

09/25/2015 05:13 EDT | Updated 09/25/2015 05:59 EDT
John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

CALGARY — Alberta's municipal affairs minister says the province's disaster recovery program is a "disaster in and of itself'' and there will eventually be changes.

Derek Bilous was responding to a resolution backed by delegates at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association calling for an external review of the program.

The issue was brought forward by High River Coun. Bruce Masterman, who says the problems his town encountered during major flooding in 2013 are not unique.

He says there are nearly 1,400 open files in the province from the disaster and more than half of them are from High River residents.

The resolution, approved by 91 per cent of delegates, calls for a review to speed up completion of outstanding files and improve the program for the future.

Bilous said the government has been looking at disaster relief and there will be an announcement from the environment minister, but no date has been set.

"It was something that we inherited which I can tell you ... from talking to people when it first was launched, was a disaster in and of itself,'' Bilous said.

"I recognize the province needs to do better. I know that our government is working very judiciously to come up with a plan.''

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