City of Hamilton still doesn't know what the ice storm cost

It’s trying to figure it out, but the city is still calculating how much the ice storm has cost Hamilton taxpayers.

Toronto clean-up costs pegged at $75M

A Horizon Utilities worker works to repair the power at Fennell and Upper Sherman after a pre-Christmas ice storm. Thousands of Hamilton residents were without power. The city is still calculating how much the damage has cost Hamilton. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

It’s trying to figure it out, but the city is still calculating out how much the ice storm has cost Hamilton taxpayers.

Staff in various departments are crunching numbers to tally the dollar value of the damage caused by a massive pre-Christmas ice storm. But they don’t have a number yet, spokesperson Mike Kirkopoulos said.

“At this point, we don’t have any specific numbers that we can share,” he said. But it likely not be anywhere close to Toronto's clean-up estimate of more than $75 million.

The city is “putting together some of the details,” he said.

Parts of Hamilton were without electricity for as long as five days after an ice storm toppled trees and downed power lines. Much of the lower city only briefly lost power, where as Ancaster, Glanbrook and particularly north Flamborough spent Christmas Eve in the dark.

Calculating a dollar amount is important, Kirkopoulos said. Councillors will vote next week to ask the province for disaster relief money through the Ontario Disaster and Relief Assistance Program. They’ll need the amount for their deliberations, and also for the potential application for assistance.

Knowing the dollar amount will also help the city budget for future winters, Kirkopoulos said.

City staff are currently focused on cleaning up the branches nature toppled during the storm. Crews are removing downted tree limbs and branches. Over the next month, he said, they hope to have a full picture of the damage to Hamilton’s tree canopy.

Meanwhile, the city is distributing gift cards to low-income families who lost food during the storm. This is the second day of distribution, which ends on Thursday.

The gift cards are offered through a joint program between the province and corporate sponsors. They are offered to people who lost power for 48 hours or more.

Families who receive Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program qualify, as do those who fall under the low-income cut-off line of $23,647 per year for a single person and $43,942 for a family of four.

Cards are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the following locations:

  • Ontario Works office, 2255 Barton St. E.
  • Ontario Works office, 1550 Upper James
  • Huntington Park Recreation Centre, 87 Brentwood Dr.
  • Flamborough Municipal Service Centre, 7 Innovation Dr., Waterdown

To be eligible, recipients must bring proof of address and income. 

The province is handing out $62,200 in gift cards in Hamilton.


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