'We've been hung out to dry,' says reeve one year after Breton tornado

By Laine Mitchell (Twitter: @Laine_Mitchell)
July 13, 2018 - 9:23am

One year after a tornado touched down in Brazeau County, there is frustration over the lack of help received from the provincial government.

“The response is not adequate. It’s been no financial help whatsoever. It’s pretty frustrating and you lose hope in a government where they are supposed to help you when a disaster strikes," said Brazeau County Reeve Bart Guyon. 

The tornado that touched down near Breton on July 13 of last year tore through over 20 residences in, resulting in an estimated $170,000 in damages and thousands of trees being destroyed. 

The County has applied twice for assistance through the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP), only to be denied twice over. 

“The province really needs to look at what constitutes a disaster because we’ve been hung out to dry here," said Guyon. "Assistance happens for floods and fires, but not tornadoes. They called it a wind event, and we know it was a tornado.”

He added that for the individuals who were affected by the storm, a significant portion of their farms were hit, with many trees bent and snapped on their property. The clean-up left to them may present a safety hazard, he said.

"Residents need big equipment to do the cleanup of the twisted and bent trees on their property," Guyon continued. "Some are so pent up that when they are cut they snap back. They call those widow makers. It's a real safety issue.”

Environment Canada rated the Breton tornado an EF-1, with estimated winds speeds of 135 to 175 kilometres per hour.

In addition to the twister, the storm system produced hail the size of golf balls in the Drayton Valley and Thorsby areas.

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