No solid numbers to gauge flood damage repair costs, says B.C. finance minister

Still counting flood's cost

British Columbia's finance minister says it's still too early to put a price tag on the cleanup and repairs ahead after recent floods and landslides in the southern part of the province.

But Selina Robinson says the effects of the floods and extreme weather may affect the government's bottom line after she met today with the Economic Forecast Council, a 13-member private-sector group that is giving her advice before next spring's budget.

The council is forecasting that the province's economy will grow by 5.3 per cent in 2021 and 4.2 per cent in 2022, which is above the national GDP estimates of 4.9 and 4.1 per cent, respectively.

B.C.'s economy shrank in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 3.4 per cent decline was smaller than originally projected.

Robinson forecast a 2020-21 budget deficit of $1.7 billion last month, although the projection did not incorporate the flood damage.

The government's previous deficit projection released in September was $4.8 billion, which was also down from its original deficit forecast of $9.7 billion last spring.

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