Mayor Hazel McCallion, along with 19 GTA mayors and three regional chairs, is asking the provincial and federal governments to fund one third of all the recent ice storm costs and to establish new programs to address future disasters and severe weather events; they met in Mississauga today to co-ordinate their request and approach.
“The ice storm caused damage to trees and property on a scale rarely seen in this area,” said Mayor McCallion. “We have consolidated the costs; GTA municipalities and hydro utilities are faced with a staggering $275 million in total costs and this is all damage to public property.”
McCallion reminded all in attendance that last July municipalities were also hit by a severe flood which affected a smaller area of the GTA, primarily Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto; this storm also caused millions of dollars of damage to private and public property. Mississauga’s request for provincial funding through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) was denied.
“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 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.
These resolutions will be sent to all Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Parliament, the Premier of Ontario, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
Mayor McCallion invited the GTA Mayors and Regional Chairs, who represent approximately 7 million residents, to attend a meeting at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre after Mississauga Council passed a similar resolution on January 8, 2013. Council also requested that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing declare the City of Mississauga a “disaster area” for the purposes of the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) in a second resolution.
Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area were subject to an extreme weather event – an ice storm – on December 22, 2013.
As Canada’s sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and more than 54,000 businesses, including more than 60 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is “Leading Today for Tomorrow” by focussing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.