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No aid on the way for Norfolk

Mayor says businesses should turn to insurance to recoup blackout losses

Kate Schwass
Tuesday June 06, 2006

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

The Tuesday Times-Reformer — They know how much it cost local businesses, but Norfolk County can’t do much for local businesses affected by the blackout.

Mayor Rita Kalmbach said businesses should look to their insurance companies for help with their losses.

“It was not of our making,” Kalmbach said. “I don’t want people to think they might get money from this.”
Kalmbach said Haldimand County was given money, not because of the blackout, but because of the prolonged blockade set up by native protesters in the Douglas Creek Estates. It has affected the flow of traffic through Caledonia and that money is being used to help businesses with operational costs.

Diana Jardine, director of municipal programs and education branch with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said the ministry wanted to know the cost incurred by Norfolk businesses because of the blackout, but said “there’s no work” being done in regards to financial aid for businesses.

'“It was simply getting the facts together,” she said.

Molly Finlay, the media relations representative for Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade Joseph Cordiano, pointed to the $500,000 fund set up by the ministry for emergency financial assistance to local business in Caledonia.

“That’s where we’re starting,” she said.

When asked specifically about Norfolk’s situation, Finlay said she didn’t know if Norfolk businesses would see any financial aid.

The blackout, which lasted about 32 hours, happened after a car was used to damage a transformer station in the south-end of Caledonia after native protesters and Caledonia residents clashed on May 22. It knocked out power in many parts of Norfolk including Delhi, Waterford and Simcoe.

Clark Hoskin, Norfolk’s manager of tourism and economic development, said in a June 2 memo to county council that employers who answered a survey reported $778,110 in total losses and damages associated with the blackout. On Sunday night, he revised that amount to more than $823,000.

After his second figure was reported, Hoskin said even more responses were coming in yesterday from the 120 businesses that were sent the survey. He said total losses could go even higher before tonight’s council meeting.

Hoskin said he wouldn’t be surprised if the blackout caused more than $1-million in losses for Norfolk businesses.

“A lot of people were asking that question: What is this costing us,” Hoskin said.

“People were very emotional about this,” he said. Comments in his report to council had one employer saying, “blackouts due to weather and other seemingly uncontrollable circumstances is acceptable. Vandalism is unacceptable.”

Hoskin said the information gathered in the survey will help the county in the future.

“One of the issues that came out of this was our hydro or power infrastructure,” he said. Businesses won’t want to move to an area that can’t sustain power or have a back-up plan, Hoskin pointed out, so now that they realize it could be a problem, staff can look at ways to avoid it. “We’re trying to be proactive and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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