Windsor-Tecumseh MPP wants criteria changed for flood-damage assistance
Mayors from Windsor-Essex join Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro to survey some of the flood-damaged debris after a record rainfall at the end of August flooded more than 6,000 homes. (Michelle Maluske/CTV Windsor)
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 4:54PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 14, 2017 10:22AM EDT
Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Percy Hatfield is demanding the province support local flood victims.
Hatfield is calling on the Wynne government to change the criteria for assistance through the Ontario Disaster Recovery Assistance Program.
More than 200 millimetres of rain fell on Windsor and the surrounding areas over a 24-hour period on Aug. 29, washing out major streets and flooding many homes.
Under the current guidelines, if residents had water enter their home through a sewer, they are not eligible.
Because of that, Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro suggests not all of the more than 6,000-flooded households in Windsor-Essex will qualify for assistance.
Hatfield stood up in the Ontario legislature on Wednesday and said the guidelines must change.
“Climate change is real. Torrential downpours causing sewer backups are the norm in this century,” said Hatfield. “When will this government accept this and change the rules so people can get some help as they try and recover from natural disasters?”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens estimates only 80 residents are not living in the approved zone for disaster relief.
Mauro adds Ontario will offer funding assistance if you are a low income resident and had water enter your home from a sewer.
If you do live outside the approved zone, Mauro encourages you to ask for reconsideration.
“If homeowners feel they should be accommodated, they should work with municipal officials,” says Mauro. “Make sure you call council members and let them know about your personal experience. It’s not unusual for boundaries to be adjusted.”
Flooding was the main topic of discussion at the first in a series of ward meetings in Windsor on Tuesday, hosted by ward one councillor Fred Francis.
Mayor Dilkens told the huge crowd at the South Windsor Recreation Complex the damage estimate from last month's historic flooding is expected to top $175-million.
Dilkens also presented the eight-point sewer master plan for improvements, but many residents suggest the plan is not enough.
The city also estimates the cleanup of flood debris will cost half a million dollars, something which can't happen soon enough for residents and city officials.
That is because Google-earth vehicles are taking pictures around Windsor for its street-view site.
“We are in contact with Google, we're trying to see if they can take a pause on the work that they're doing here,” says Dilkens. “At least for a few weeks, maybe a month to give us time to catch up on the garbage.”
It appears the Google crew has a sense of timing. You may remember Google arrived during the 2009 civic outdoor worker strike, where public parks went uncut and garbage wasn't collected.