Goldring joins 19 other Mayors in asking the province and the federal government for disaster relief. Local tax base can’t carry these costs.

By Pepper Parr


January 18, 2014

Mayor Rick drove himself along the QEW into Hazel McCallion territory and along with 18 other GTA  Mayors agrees that they need funds from both the provincial and federal government in the way of disaster relief help.

Mayor Goldring points out that more than 7 million people were impacted by the ice storm that hit the area on Friday December 20th and left a lot of people without power for six days, some longer than that.

The province has a Disaster Relief program and Burlington, along with the other municipalities in the Region filed their papers for that support earlier this week.

While all the numbers are not in yet Burlington knows that it is something in the order of $1.6 million in the hole for the clean-up and the expenses incurred while we weathered that storm.

Burlington has a Disaster Reserve fund that has $3.2 million in it.

Mayor Goldring picking up donation in the Santa Claus parade – met with other GTA Mayors to pick up provincial finds to help with the ice storm damage. Maybe he should have taken the hockey stick and the sock with him?

Mayor Goldring feels Burlington “might’ see a little over $1 million in Disaster support from the two levels of government but there is still going to be a big dent in that reserve fund.  Watch for Council to look for a way to use some of whatever surplus we might have from 2013 go back into the reserve fund.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, along with 19 GTA mayors and 3 regional chairs, called the meeting – didn’t invite the Premier – but did manage to get all the Mayors to agree on a Resolution that was sent to the Premier and the Prime Minister asking for aid.

McCallion reminded the Mayors that the July storms affected a smaller area of the GTA, primarily Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto and that Mississauga’s request for provincial funding through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) was denied.

Has the December storm been damaging enough to pull some funding from the province – that is certainly the hope of the GTA mayors.

Mayor Goldring points out that we are seeing a significant change in weather patterns and experiencing major storms that are all but impossible to plan for.  The municipal tax base wasn’t built to handle this kind of extraordinary expense.  Help from the province at least and hopefully the federal government will become available.

Goldring also pointed out that insurance rates are going to climb considerably – and that will impact individuals and the city as well.  It makes one think about just what global warming is doing to us.

The cost of cleaning up this kind of storm damage is more than the municipal tax base can bear. Municipalities look to province and federal government for financial support.

 “There is great fear that the outcome of the ice storm will be the same; that we will be left on our own to deal with the financial aftermath of the ice storm, said McCallion. “The property tax cannot bear the brunt of these emergencies. We gathered together today to discuss how we could adopt a more unified and coordinated approach for getting provincial and federal funding to address this problem.”

The resolution passed today specifically asks:

• The Provincial and Federal governments to share equally in this disaster with municipalities by each funding one-third of the full cost of response and ongoing recovery from the ice storm for affected municipalities.

• That the Provincial and Federal governments treat all applicable municipalities equally and equitably.

• That the Provincial and Federal governments recognize the urgency of this matter and provide a response by March 1, 2014.

In a separate resolution the Mayors asked that the Provincial and the Federal governments establish new programs and expand existing programs to address disaster mitigation that would include: forestry; erosion control; winter storms; tree canopy; and other severe storm events that reflect the reality of climate change; and to include funding for rehabilitation of municipal infrastructure to mitigate this and future environmental and storm event impacts.

Hey – all you can do is ask, right?

Background links:

Hydro gets back into service and learns some lesson as well

We made it through the storm.

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2 comments to Goldring joins 19 other Mayors in asking the province and the federal government for disaster relief. Local tax base can’t carry these costs.

  • George

    The Premier Wynne found it more important to hop around like an easter bunny days after the storm handing out groceries to a few people in the City of Toronto; but, could not find the respect for 19 elected mayors during a highly publicized meeting to hand out a few hundred million dollars at budget time? The people in government today are an embarrassment and should not be entrusted to management of tax money. 19 gift cards were handed out in Burlington for food loss when the outside temperature was colder than that of freezers.

    What happens to the municipalities outside the GTA? Do they have to have a separate meeting?

    Maybe if the municipalities and Hydro kept the trees trimmed prior to the event, there would not have been increased costs for one storm.

    How are the costs calculated? Are they in addition to the base overhead; is overtime paid during weekend and night work hours? Have the procurement offices kept scrutiny over retaining private contractors from charging premiums and making sure that services were expensed in a competitive fashion? Which city departments were dispatched to fix the damage; were all the city’s assets deployed?

    Shouldn’t there already be a line item in the city’s and hydro’s budgets to take on variable costings associated with maintenance costs?

    There was a disaster in Burlington? When?

    Where is the city of burlington spreadsheet illustrating publicly the total costs actually spent on whatever was deemed as a result of the “disaster”?

    Editor’s note: Ignorance prevails in this comment. The Premier wasn’t invited to the meeting. 600+ food cards were handed out. The writer of this comment would have people putting food out on the doorstep to keep it frozen.
    Had the writer driven through north Burlington he would have observed that no amount of trimming – short of cutting trees back to their stumps could have saved us from the damage. Nature has its own plans – we have to learn to cope with whatever nature does.
    The city already has a reserve fund for disaster damage.