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Quebec offers additional $60m aid to Lac-Megantic

15 July 2014

On July 13, Quebec's government offered an additional $60m to Lac-Megantic, the town devastated by last year's deadly train explosion in which 47 people were killed. Most of the extra funds will go to businesses in the town's still rebuilding core, the CBC said, quoting minister of municipal affairs and land occupancy Pierre Moreau.

He said the town in French-speaking Quebec province so far has received $409m in government aid since the disaster, Canada's worst in 15 years.

Of the $60-million being earmarked, $37-million will go directly to property owners and merchants located in the so-called “Red Zone,” the area around the explosion site.
There have been complaints from some people whose businesses were destroyed or damaged in the explosion that reconstruction is taking longer than anticipated and that politicians’ promises to fully compensate them have not been kept.

A 72-car oil train derailed in the early morning hours of 6 July 2013. The train carrying 7.2 million litres of crude oil from the US state of North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick broke loose in the middle of the night, rolled downhill unmanned and derailed in the centre of town, causing a massive deflagration.

With the boom in production of non-conventional oil in North America, the number of train cars carrying fuel in Canada has gone from 500 in 2009 to 160,000 in 2013, while in the United States it soared from 10,800 to 400,000 in the same period.

The Quebec government is considering building a new railway line to bypass Lac-Mégantic, which could cost up to C$175 million. The committee set up to evaluate this option is expected to report by the end of the year.

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