About 40 Bolton, Ont. residents still out of homes due to Humber River flood waters
Caledon mayor hopes all residents will be back home by Wednesday
About 40 Bolton, Ont. residents remain out of their homes due to flooding caused by ice jams on the Humber River on the weekend.
Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson says the displaced residents have been allowed to return to clean up basements but the homes are not yet ready for habitation.
The residents have been mopping up water, pulling out carpet and ripping out drywall. Bolton, about 60 kilometres northwest of Toronto, is the most populous community within the town of Caledon.
"There's a lot of work to get done," Thompson told CBC Toronto on Monday.
"You go by and there's a lot of stuff pulled out. There's kids' toys, there's bedroom furniture. A lot of them were finished basements. There's just a lot of stuff that has to come out. It's going to be a tough week."
About 85 homes and an apartment building were evacuated on Friday evening when the river overflowed its banks due to ice buildup. About 11 homes were still deemed unhabitable as of Monday afternoon.
Thompson said he hopes all residents will be back home by Wednesday.
All roads in the community have been reopened.
Crews have been using five excavators to remove huge chunks of ice from the river since Friday to lower water levels, which have since returned to normal.
"Structurally, the buildings aren't damaged," he said. "It's just more or less dealing with the effects of the flooding that had taken place in the basements."
Residents affected by the flooding have been feeling frustrated but community support has helped to ease those feelings, he said.
Neighbours and businesses have provided food, vacuums, heaters, fans and dumpsters. People have also been donating their time.
"The community is helping in so many ways," he said. "It is beautiful to see. And it's something we are so blessed to have in this community."
Many of the displaced residents are staying at a local hotel, while others are staying with family members and friends.
Some residents not yet back home include people who went out of town for March Break. Officials from the town have asked relatives to inspect homes in some cases.
Initially, about 200 people were forced from their homes on Friday and took shelter in a nearby community centre as crews worked to break up the dangerous chunks of ice.
On Sunday, the majority were allowed to move back into their homes.
The flooding, which had left the downtown area around the banks of the Humber River completely submerged under metres of water at one point, receded considerably late Saturday and early Sunday.
Thompson said large chunks of ice ran aground, pieces of ice piled up behind the chunks and water pooled behind the ice. Water then overran the river banks and flowed onto roads and properties. Roads got washed out, storm sewers got filled with water, and water backed up into basements.
"We are dealing with extremely thick ice this year," he said. "Nature's still boss."
Six houses were particularly hard hit, Thompson said. Officials are keeping an eye on chunks of the ice jam coming down the river from the north.
Conrad Spezowka, spokesperson for the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, said the province has contacted community officials to organize a visit by a provincial disaster assessment team.
"At this point, it's still too early to determine the extent of the flooding and damage to property," he said in an email.
"Ontario offers assistance when a natural disaster damages municipal infrastructure or leads to extraordinary emergency response costs," the email reads.
"The province may also assist with damage to eligible private property. Should an extreme weather event occur, we work with the affected areas as needed."
Spezowka said Ontario has two programs that could help homeowners: the municipal disaster recovery assistance program and the disaster recovery assistance for Ontarians program.
With files from Lucas Powers