wdr-220-basement-flooding-ap007364152-credit-the-billings-gazette-larry-mayer

All Windsor, Ont., homeowners are now eligible to apply for a basement flooding protection subsidy program. (Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette/AP)

City council has decided to expand Windsor's basement flooding protection subsidy program to all homeowners in the city.

Council voted unanimously to lift the restriction that the pilot project only apply to east-side residents, mainly in the Riverside area.

Homeowners can apply for up to $2,800 per home to install a sump pump or back water valve.

Since the program began a few weeks ago, more than 360 people on the east side have already shown interest in the program, and councillors have been fielding calls from homeowners in other parts of the city who want to take advantage of the subsidy program.

"It's very hard to justify to residents in one area why citizens in the other side of town can qualify and they can't, when they've experienced the exact same problem," said Drew Dilkens, the Ward 1 Councillor who made the motion to expand the program.

Anyone who has experienced flood damage since June 5, 2010 can apply.

In order for the home to be eligible, city inspectors must first complete a home inspection. But the inspections are time consuming — so far only 20 of the homes have been inspected, said Mike Palanacki, Executive Director of Operations for the city.

This year, council has set aside $500,000 for the program, but at the same time councillors warned that this is not the answer to the flooding problems. Councillor Jo-Anne Gignac said more money must be found to improve old sewers in the city. 

Residents can call 311 to request a home assessment.