Street that was left

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 1, 2014



Communities organize themselves in various ways. Almost a month ago many of the people in Wards 4 and 5 were scrambling to save as much of their possessions when their basements were being flooded.

Flood  UpCreek fod lines

The food lines wound their way back and forth on Elwood Street. The Bake Sale was a hit and the T- shirts also did very well. That little red head, with blonde Mom behind her gets the hair from a grandmother.

That was a month ago and there has been a lot of anguish, despair and hard kitchen table conversations about the financial impact since then.
Many had insurance that covered their situation but just as many, perhaps more, had insurance that is proving to be inadequate. All have homes that are less today than they were August 3rd.

Each household works through its situation differently, some talk to immediate neighbours, some work with their extended families. The placement of homes in suburbs is such that community is different. People aren’t always as close. Burlington has districts, but it doesn’t have neighbourhoods with strong sense of identity.

There are few large apartment buildings where people gather in a party room.

For those in that pocket of Burlington, west of Walkers Line and north of New Street – a short, short walk to Tuck Creek that over ran its banks and did serious damage to the infrastructure – their sense of humour came to the rescue and they organized a street party.

Nicholson Glenn organized UPcreek event on Elwood

It seemed like a good idea to Glenn Nicholson, the Elwood Street resident who came up with the idea of holding an event for his neighbours. He then watched it grow to the point where he was able to get the Burlington Teen Tour band and CHCH television coverage. Not bad for a local kid.

Glenn Nicholson, an Elwood resident decided to organize an event for his neighbours. It was going to be small – just for the people on the street at first – but when the name of the event got around – the occasion grew like topsy.  “I have about 35 volunteers and we expect somewhere between 1000 to 2000 people.

Nicholson did get loads of support from his ward Councillor. Jack Dennison made phone calls and got permit fees waived and someone got the Burlington Teen Tour Band out on the street for some marching band music.

We don’t know yet how much Nicholson and his volunteers managed to raise – we will report that when it is available.

Flood Up Creek T shirt yellow

The T shirt says it all for a lot of people.

They called it “Up the Creek” which reflected just how many of the people flooded felt as the struggled to save their homes with little in the way of support from the city corporately.

City hall decided to outsource the resolution to another organization and asked everyone else to take on a task while the city worked on recovering as much as it could from the province for the damage done to its infrastructure.

Dennison + Mayor and wife at Up Creek

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison chats with Mayor Goldring and his wife at the Elwood Street Up the Creek event. The Mayor apparently chose not to wear one of the Up the Creek T shirts.

While Calgary is a much bigger city and the flood it was hit with this year was bigger – there wasn’t a day that the citizens of Calgary did not see and hear from there Mayor. Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s Mayor was everywhere.

Yes Calgary has better media than Burlington ; we are squeezed between Hamilton and Toronto – but a little creativity on the part of the media people at city hall could have had video done and posted on the city web site and loaded up to YouTube.

The Mayor could have gone into communities and meet with people. He did this the once – to great effect. Handling people and their issues seems to be within the Mayor’s comfort zone; certainly not the case with Gary Carr the Regional Chair.

McMahon at Up Creek - side view - smile

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon is everywhere. She is being referred to as a “rock star” by Ron Foxcroft, chair of the Disaster Relief fund.

Would it have been different were Goldring being opposed in the municipal election for the job of Mayor? Most certainly – but while it isn’t too late for someone to step forward – those who hold their breath waiting for another name to appear on the ballot are going to have health issues.

For those who felt they were left “Up the Creek” – they will work things out and come away with a different understanding as to what their municipal level of government is doing for them.


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