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A year later, city still calculating how much the ice storm cost

Nearly a year after a Christmastime ice storm felled trees and knocked out power for days, the city is still calculating how much it cost.
Hamilton city staff are still calculating how much money to request from the province to pay for the Dec. 21, 2013 ice storm. (Courtesy of Judi Partridge)

Nearly a year after a Christmastime ice storm felled trees and knocked out power for days, the city is still calculating how much it cost.

Hamilton will get a share of money the province is doling out to deal with the storm. But as for how much it needs, city staff are still trying to figure that out, said finance head Mike Zegarac.

Overall, the ice storm cost the city about $19 million, including Horizon Utilities costs. The total also includes staff overtime and use of equipment. Crews worked long hours cleaning up felled trees and repairing infrastructure through the city. Some areas, such as parts of Ancaster and north Flamborough, spent Christmas in the dark.

Staffers are still working to figure out which costs are eligible under the provincial program, which the Ontario government announced in February. The deadline is Dec. 31.

“We’re on target with making our submission for Dec. 31,” Zegarac told the audit, finance and administration committee on Monday.

Ice storm clean-up stretched well into the spring. The storm hit on Dec. 21, leaving parts of Hamilton without power for five days.

The province also teamed with corporate sponsors to pay for gift cards for low-income families who lost food during the storm. It handed out $62,200 in gift cards in Hamilton.

The province is offering $190 million in ice storm relief money to be distributed among 53 municipalities and six conservation authorities.

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