Thunder Bay declared disaster area after flood
Cleaning up people's homes a top priority, city council says
Posted: May 31, 2012 9:09 AM ET
Last Updated: May 31, 2012 1:58 PM ET
Thunder Bay was declared a disaster area by its city council at an impromptu meeting Wednesday night in the wake of a an unprecedented flood that left the region in a state of emergency.
The resolution allows the city to obtain funding from senior levels of government.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said he has already spoken with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who "assured city council that the province will be there to access funds provincially, and to assist us with accessing federal funds.”
A key theme of the meeting included the cleanup of homes flooded by sewage. Many councillors were concerned homeowners may not be able to afford repair bills, or have insurance coverage.
City manager Tim Commisso said administration is trying to find a way of ensuring homeowners have a safe place to live.
"I think the key is … ensuring that everybody's home gets cleaned up properly,” Commisso said.
The city is still trying to pinpoint exactly how many homes are affected by the flooding.
Manager of Infrastructure and Operations Darrell Matson said the best estimate, so far, is 1,100 homes.
He said the city will also do extra closed-circuit TV checks of sewer lines to see if there's any damage. Matson said some of that repair work could be covered by provincial disaster funding.
In the meantime, the city reports it's making progress with more sewage pumps that have been running around the clock.
“What we're seeing already is a decrease in the amount of water that is backlogged or flooding all of our trunk and sanitary and combined sewers throughout the community,” Matson said.
He noted some homes in the east end had water pour back into the basement as fast as it was pumped out. Matson said that situation is improving, although some homes continue to take on water.
When the sewage plant is deemed safe, workers will try and figure out why the main pump failed, and fix the problem, he added.
During the meeting, Hobbs alluded to the fact the pump at the sewage treatment plant was overwhelmed with the heavy rain.
The effect of the heavy rains could have been greater, Hobbs said. He noted the floodway dredging of last year prevented the flood from being much worse, particularly in the intercity area.
Latest Thunder Bay News Headlines
- Thunder Bay firm set to 'take orders' from aerospace industry
- A small Thunder Bay company is looking to make a big mark in the aerospace industry, thanks to some help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. more »
- Transport Canada orders 8 Ontario wind turbines removed
- Transport Canada has ordered the removal of eight wind turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport in southwestern Ontario because they exceed height restrictions for the area and could pose a risk to pilots. more »
- Thunder Bay developer to rework apartment plans
- A Thunder Bay developer wants to build new apartments on a north-side property — against the wishes of a group of nearby residents. more »
- Former McGuinty staffer grilled about gas plants
- A former top aide to ex-premier Dalton McGuinty fended off allegations today that senior Liberal staffers were directed to delete emails about two cancelled Toronto-area power plants as part of a cost coverup. more »
Top News Headlines
- Most groups don't want return of Trudeau speaking fees
- Most of the 17 charitable and other organizations that have paid speaking fees to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau during his time as an MP say they aren't interested in having their fees returned, despite Trudeau's offer on the weekend to reimburse any organization unhappy with his services. more »
- G8 leaders agree to 7-point plan on Syria as summit wraps
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the other G8 leaders reach a seven-point plan aimed at stopping the conflict in Syria, wrapping up a two-day summit in Northern Ireland following talks on trade, tax evasion, poverty and terrorism. more »
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- As electronic or e-cigarettes grow in popularity, some health advocates want them to be regulated. more »
- In Bangladesh's garment trade, empowerment comes at $20 a week
- The pay is laughable by Western standards, and the shantytowns of Dhaka offer a difficult life. But the surge of mostly young women into the country's increasingly important clothing industry is having a profound change on this largely Islamic society, Margaret Evans writes. more »