No solid numbers to gauge flood damage repair costs, says B.C. finance minister

British Columbia’s finance minister says it’s still too early to put a price tag on the cleanup and repairs ahead after recent floods and landslides in the southern part of the province.

Selina Robinson said the repair bill for the infrastructure loss may affect the government’s bottom line after she met Friday with the Economic Forecast Council, a 13-member private-sector group that is giving her advice before she creates next year’s budget.

“We don’t have the full details as of yet and so we’re waiting for the Ministry of Transportation and others as they identify … and understand what the full impacts are so that we can have a sense of how much budget is going to be required to address the rebuild that is going to be necessary,” she said at a news conference.

The lack of hard data and preliminary damage estimates also contributed to the “mixed bag” of estimates from the private forecasters, who had differing views on the scale of the flood impact on the province’s budget, Robinson said.

Successive storms that battered southern B.C. with record amounts of rainfall caused floods, slides and washouts that crippled vital transportation routes, deluged agricultural operations and forced thousands of people from their homes.

Robinson said the budget she tables in February will have the government’s latest financial numbers.

“What I can say just about the flooding response right now is we are gathering the information that we need to understand what the full scale is and so I don’t have any solid numbers as of today,” she said.

The council has forecasted that the province’s economy will grow by 5.3 per cent in 2021 and 4.2 per cent in 2022, which is above the national GDP estimates of 4.9 and 4.1 per cent, respectively.

B.C.’s economy shrank in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 3.4 per cent decline was smaller than originally projected.

Robinson predicted a 2020-21 budget deficit of $1.7 billion last month, although the projection did not incorporate damage from the series of storms that hit the province.

The government’s previous deficit projection released in September was $4.8 billion, which was also down from its original deficit forecast of $9.7 billion last spring.

– The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Leave a Comment
Share
Published by
The Canadian Press
Tags: BC Flood

Recent Posts

Early lead by Langley tier 1 Thunder not enough to beat Burnaby Lakers

Loss costs team home-floor advantage in playoffs

2 hours ago

Fraser Valley Bandits look to hold on to first place

Tickets still available for tonight’s pro basketball game in Langley

3 hours ago

Court rejects bid by AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to overturn suspension

Archibald argued her suspension was unlawful

4 hours ago

Canada to lead upgraded force in Latvia, but resists calls to meet spending target

Trudeau said the agreement lays out the next steps for the Canadian-led battlegroup in Latvia

4 hours ago

Police, heavy security greet protests and celebrations alike in downtown Ottawa

Ottawa’s bylaw service says it had issued 275 parking tickets and towed 72 vehicles since…

5 hours ago

Langley Township to plan for future heat waves

$30,000 grant will study responses

5 hours ago