06/08/2012 01:43 EDT | Updated 08/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Thunder Bay to get provincial disaster relief money

The Ontario government has declared the City of Thunder Bay, the Municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge, and the Township of Conmee disaster areas.

That means the communities are eligible for financial help from the province.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Kathleen Wynne said during a press conference Friday that up to $16 million is available to cover the extraordinary costs of the municipalities, and to help individuals cover costs not met by insurance.

"The people of Thunder Bay, Comnee, and Oliver-Paipoonge have suffered tremendous losses in the recent flooding due to the unprecedented rainfall last month," Wynne said. "There's been a great deal of damage to both public infrastructure and to private homes and businesses."

About $13 million will be shared among the three municipal governments, but the bulk of it — $10 million — will go to Thunder Bay.

About $3 million has been earmarked for private citizens in the three communities.

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs said he estimates damages in the city alone at about $100 million.

"[The province's financial help] is good news amongst all this bad news," Hobbs said. "Sixteen million dollars is going to go a long way to start us in the recovery and rebuilding of Thunder Bay."

Hobbs added the city will also apply to the federal government for financial assistance.