Cottagers exempt from Ontario disaster relief program
About half a dozen frustrated residents walked out of a public meeting in Calabogie Monday morning after learning the province’s disaster relief program does not apply to secondary residences – namely cottages.
The public meeting, held at the Calabogie Community Centre on Monday, Aug. 6, was an opportunity for residents to get an update on recovery efforts following the July 23 storm as well as information on the Ontario Disaster Relief Program.
It became clear early in the meeting, however, that most of those in attendance are not eligible for the program’s private coverage. Only about 20 of the roughly 140 people at the meeting indicated they are permanent residents of the area.
Seasonal residents argued they pay taxes on their cottages, questioning why they are not covered. Warren Sleeth, manager local government unit for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said expenses related to removing debris, clearing roads and fixing recreation areas damaged by the storm still come under the program’s public coverage.
The July 23 storm cut a five-to-10 kilometre swath from Eganville, exerting its fury in Greater Madawaska. The hardest hit areas were the town of Calabogie, Norway Lake and areas of White Lake.