Burlington flood advocacy group to host Valentine’s Gala to raise funds for independent research

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 27, 2015


The Halton Residents Against Sewer Backup (HRASB) is hosting a Valentine’s Day Gala with all proceeds going to fund independent research of the storm and sanitary sewer systems.

HRASB spokesperson, Christina Thorpe, says the group will spearhead the research but intends to work closely with independent experts who will analyze last year’s storm and waste water system failures, provide recommendations, and offer insight into the city’s proposed “intensification” plans.

Christine Thorpe

Christine Thorpe speaks for the Halton Residents Against Sewer Backup.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Burlington residents to come together, once again, in solidarity as they did on August 4th – a day when family, friends, and neighbours opened their homes and hearts to those who were greatly distressed.” More than 191 mm of rain fell on that August day.

Sewer backup in business.

Nothing pretty about this picture but it was the reality many in the city had to deal with last August.

Thorpe contends that the formal affair at The Atrium will be well worth the $60 ticket price with dancing and live entertainment by the talented John Chantry, hors d’oeuvres reception, silent art auction, raffles for items such as spa packages and electronics, door prizes, and a champagne toast – all for a worthy cause.

Thorpe says that the storm and waste water infrastructure failed in May, June, and August of 2014, and that costly flood studies dating back 14+ years were seemingly ignored.

Furthermore adds Thorpe, citizens were not provided with essential emergency services for prompt sewage clean out or consultation on public health issues.

Flood Fairview plaza

The commercial sector suffered as well during the flood – no one is hearing how they dealt with the damage.

“Emergency preparedness is something that every Burlington resident should be concerned about. We need to be confident that the City and the Region are prepared to take appropriate action during times of crises.”

Valentine hearts

A Valentine Day event to get together and chill out and raise funds for further research.

Tickets can be purchased online  at WWW.EventBrite.ca – search for ‘Valentines Gala’ – or call 289-335-0329.  Singles and couples welcome, senior and group discounts, 19+. * Transportation for seniors’ groups can be arranged.

The city has budgeted $4.5 million to do a study on what would have happened to other parts of Burlington had the same amount of raid dropped in Aldershot.

The HRASB hasn’t said what it is they want to independently research on nor have they set out a target as to how much money they need to raise.

Back in October, 2014 the HRASB wrote Regional Chair Gary Carr asking a number of questions.

Why, they wanted to know, did the representatives from the Burlington Flood Relief Foundation decline two invitations to attend sewer backup meetings thereby missing opportunities to connect with 350+ residents who were directly affected by sewage backup?

First, the organization was the Burlington Community Foundation and there job was to deal with two clearly defined groups of people: Those who did not have any insurance and those who were under-insured.

A meeting with 300+ people who didn’t meet these criteria would serve no purpose – and, the BCF was terribly over-worked dealing with those who did meet the criteria.

The members of HRASB and the people they represent have significant and justifiable complaints. The Regional government has basically stiffed them and failed to respond adequately to their real concerns.  There is more detail on the HRASB web site at www.hrasb.com

There was an On line petition requesting a Town Hall meeting; that went nowhere. Everyone who signed the on-line petition also sent an email to Regional Chair Garry Carr – that didn’t produce any results either.

Jane MacCaskill

Jane MacCaskill, CAO for the Region felt that elections got in the way of meeting the needs of residents whose homes were flooded.

Regional CAO Jane MacCaskill published a press release in a local newspaper saying there would not be any public meetings with a municipal election taking place. For some reason MacCaskill feels the administration of a municipal government comes to a complete stop just because there is an election taking place,

The election is over – so now is there going to be a meeting? Thorpe doesn’t appear to be holding her breath.

There have been a few very poorly promoted Public Information events that were reportedly poorly attended.

Christina Thorpe is pushing for better transparency and more accountable. She thinks that the three law suits that have been filed against the Region for the way they handled the flood matters might be why they are being kind of quiet.

The people who lost so much due to the flood have big hearts – and they want to share the love on Valentine’s Day – and then use the money they raise to do some serious research. There is nothing more effective than a grass roots organization committed to their cause.

Related articles:

Open letter to the Regional chair – he didn’t respond.

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1 comment to Burlington flood advocacy group to host Valentine’s Gala to raise funds for independent research

  • Joan Bell

    It is very inspiring that community is gathering together to address the problem of Flooding. Why isn’t Region and City not addressing this. In the long ago there was a problem with flooding and the various run offs were addressed(approx. 30 plus years ago). I understand your frustration with clean ups, insurance, City and Region. Don’t let them off the hook please. You are already paying taxes for this. Which could increase this year.
    You all seem very organized so prepare to move ahead with continued perseverance.