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Grant to help tornado-impacted landowners in Mountain View County

Mountain View County entering grant project with province to assist after Bergen-area tornado caused widespread damage south of Sundre in July
MVT-Bergen area tornado follow-up 1
Judy and John Bargholz survey on Monday, Aug. 29 the view from their property overlooking Twp. Rd. 320, more commonly known in the community as Bergen Road, which is located southeast of Sundre. Large piles of felled trees now sit where once a tree stand acted as a natural barrier. The forested area was largely cleared out by the July 7 tornado-producing storm that hit hard several properties in the immediate area. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has authorized administration to enter into and administer a $429,00 grant project with the province to assist landowners impacted by last summer’s tornado south of Sundre. 

The move came by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

“We are applying for a grant through forestry (Alberta Forestry, Parks and Tourism),” said chief administrative officer Jeff Holmes. “The grant is intended to reduce the fire hazard risk. The intent of this motion is to ensure that the property authority is in place before we actually sign and execute the grant.”

The county has already received a draft agreement with the department.

“We are hopeful we will have a finalized agreement to sign soon,” he said.

An EF-2 tornado hit the Bergen area on July 7 creating widespread damage to residences and other infrastructure as well as destroying many trees in the area.

In a briefing note to county, Holmes provided more details on plans going forward.

“There are approximately nine individual properties that were affected by the tornado, all of this suffered varying degrees of damage to the standing trees on the properties,” he said.

“The county proposes to reduce the fire hazard risk for area residents by operating a project to remove all the deadfall left behind by the tornado.”

The delivery of the program will follow a number of steps, including that upon confirmation of receipt of grant dollars the county will host a landowner meeting, probably at the Bergen Hall, to sign up landowners with right of entry documents to allow a third-party contractor to enter onto private land,” he said.

“The county proposes to seek competitive bids from local forestry/construction companies to ensure that work completed under this grant application is delivered at competitive industry rates,” he said.

Tree removal and clean up costs already incurred by the landowner will be eligible for reimbursement, he said, adding landowners will have to provide information such as the date and time of that work and types of equipment used.

“The county is proposing that reforestation of lost trees will be an eligible cost should landowners wish to reforest the seedlings. Reforestation will be completed at current industry standard pricing,” he said.

The county will work with landowners to “attempt to recover as much salvage value from the downed trees as possible to help offset cleanup costs. Any revenue received will be deducted from the costs of clean up and will not be reimbursed to landowners,” he said.

Personal property and building losses will not be eligible for funding under the grant application, he said.

“The objective of this grant is to only cover out of pocket costs for residents that undertake clean up work to reduce the fire hazard left behind from the tornado,” he said.

Dan Singleton

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