Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro toured some of the flood-ravaged areas of Windsor Tuesday, and met with mayors from both the city and Essex County.
Mauro and the mayors of Windsor, Lakeshore and Essex toured neighbourhoods where huge piles of flood-damaged debris still sit curbside. Earlier in the day, Mauro also spoke with the mayors of LaSalle and Tecumseh.
"I think it's difficult and it's discouraging," Mauro said to CBC's Dale Molnar while on the tour. "Especially for those who, and I'm assuming it's many, have been hit here for the second time in 12 months. You feel for those folks."
The province agreed city residents are eligible to apply for disaster relief funding, but it doesn't cover sewer backup and will only cover damage not covered by insurance.
Opposition leaders blasted the province for its response.
"I have serious questions about the effectiveness of this program, and the lack of a sufficient response from this Liberal government," said Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown in an open letter last week addressed to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
"I understand and I appreciate there has been some discussion about what the province can do more, I think the question is what can we all do more," Mauro said at a news conference Tuesday.
He explained that the Disaster Recovery Assistance program had been reformed two years ago to better reflect the needs of municipalities and that federally, there is only so much money that can be offered to any province experiencing a disaster and the province must "mitigate that against the future."
"It's not unusual for boundaries of the programs to be adjusted," said Mauro. He encouraged homeowners to contact their municipal officials if they feel they should be covered under the program.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens is asking the province to create a comprehensive affordable insurance package homeowners can buy if they can't get flood insurance.
"They're dealing with the mess in their basements all on their own," Dilkens said in a press conference, adding that it's "not enough" to remove flood damaged goods from people's homes.
"There's a lot of things as mayors that we can control in our municipalities but mother nature and climate change are not two of those elements," he said.
The city has suspended recycling pickup for the rest of the week, and yard-waste pickup for the rest of September, as they direct those resources to picking up garbage from the flood.
The Town of Lakeshore announced they have completed the collection of flood debris and will continue to pickup flood debris that is packaged in small manageable bundles in accordance with the collection guide.
Mayors and Bill Mauro tour South walkerville flood damage pic.twitter.com/NECMhV8n4t— @cbcmolnar