Mr. Speaker, seeing images on TV of the destruction that hurricane Igor inflicted on Newfoundland and Labrador is one thing but seeing it first-hand, as I did this weekend, hits home the seriousness of the situation.
As rivers and ponds overflowed and the rush of water could not be handled by the culverts, homes flooded, cars were submerged, roads disappeared, bridges collapsed and some people lost everything. We must learn from this tragedy.
As people try to rebuild their lives and local governments replace infrastructure that failed the onslaught of the hurricane, it is crucial that all levels of government agree to put in place infrastructure that improves on what previously existed and failed.
The issue is that, under the present cost-shared agreement with the province, should a municipality want to put back a larger culvert, for example, the agreement will only cover to have that culvert replaced to its pre-disaster condition. The municipality will be responsible for the cost of the upgrade.
This needs to change. Rural communities, in particular, cannot afford this cost and cannot afford to replace failed infrastructure with more of the same.