Burlington is almost like two different societies: those flooded and those not. For those flooded it is brutal, for those not - they can help.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 27, 2014



There is a strange dichotomy at this time in this city. There are those who were flooded and those who weren’t. Those who were are, in some cases, devastated while others live their day to day lives and hope that we will have a nice fall because summer appears to have forgotten us this year.

Flood rainfall graphic weather network image

Graphic of the rainfall pattern August 4th.

On August 4th 190 mm of rain fell on a part of the city in 3-4 hours causing havoc and devastation for the more than 2,600 homes that were flooded.

On May 13th 75 of the same homes flooded when 60 mm fell in one hour. Most people had adequate insurance, however many did not. The majority of the homes affected were in the South East part of Burlington. About 1,000 homes flooded in Ward 5, perhaps more than 15% of the homes south of the QEW between Appleby and Burloak.

About 1200 homes between Walkers Line and Guelph Line in Ward 4 flooded, mostly due to sewage back up.  The Mayor’s home is reported to have experienced 4 to 5 feet of sewage in his basement. There were hundreds of others in other wards. For homes that received overland flooding there appears to be zero insurance coverage.

In notes left on the Burlington Sewer Backup Victims Coalition web site, Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman explained that the sewage back up happened because all of the houses in the badly hit areas were built prior to 1974 when the building code changed.

Prior to 1974 it was normal to have gutter down spouts and weeping tiles plumber into the sewage system. After 1974 those were not plumber in. Without storm water in our sewage system the risk of flooding is minimized.


Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Sharman says he has personally spoken to “about 500 flooding victims. I still have perhaps another 700 or more to speak to in coming weeks.”
Some of those flooded on May 13 had their insurance cut off; they were left totally unprotected for the August 4th flood. Many have had their insurance coverage drastically reduced, while deductibles increased to as much as $5000. Most people want to understand why the flooding occurred to them and not others. Everyone is anxious about whether the next significant looking rainstorm will cause their home to flood again and about what they can do to protect their homes in future. Multiple flooding victims believe the value of their home is compromised.

Sharman wants to see the Region and the City and our home owners have to take steps to get the water out of our sewage system so that this terrible flooding does not happen again. He points out that on July 9th he successfully got Regional Council to undertake a region wide flooding study to assess the hydraulic design of our sewer systems that might help provide relief in future. The study is being accelerated for high risk areas of the city.

The Region is paying out a $1000 “Ex Gratia” grant to those who experienced sewer back up.
There is a subsidy of up to $2,725.00 or 50% of the cost, to install a backwater valve, a sump pump and disconnection of weeping tile and redirection of gutter down spouts.

Sharman has provided more information in his remarks on the Sewer NAME web site than any other member of Council including the Mayor and the Region.

At the Regional level there is a communications bureaucracy that consists of a Director, a manager, advisors and specialists. One would like to think that with that level of resources, which you the tax payer pony up every quarter when the tax bill is sent out.
The Red Cross have now knocked on the doors of 10,000 plus homes. 62 of which have been identified as high priority cases. Some may have to be demolished.

At an August 15th meeting between about 20 Ward 5 home owners and the Region Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the Region`s Commissioner of Public Works and the Commissioner and Medical Officer of Health, home owners were advised that those who suffered multiple flooding and live in high risk flooding zones will receive free of charge implementation of backwater valves and sump pumps.

The Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) was asked by the Mayor to form the Burlington Flood Disaster Relief Committee which is now leading fundraising efforts. That organization expects to announce it’s chair today and then make public the Roll Out plans that will give people access to various forms of funding on September 3.

The most recent number is $142,665.00 – which is a long, long way from the $2 million targetThe fund raising is coming along: The most recent number is $142,665.00 – which is a long, long way from the $2 million target that Councillor Sharman has mentioned

While raising funds is critical – what is more important is an understanding from those who were not flooded on just how devastating this has been for those who were flooded.

For them – it has been brutal

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 comment to Burlington is almost like two different societies: those flooded and those not. For those flooded it is brutal, for those not – they can help.

  • John Sweeny

    Where is our Ward 4 Councillor? Probably working on his OMB appeal? Or maybe riding his bike around town?

    Mr. Dennison?
    Editor’s note; This co0mment is below he belt. Jack Dennison is fielding calls and follow up on some of the more serious problems. Because of the length of time he has spent as a council member Dennison knows who to call to get answers and to get hings done. He has putout a fine newsletter with good information. Can’t fault Jack Dennison on this one.