Southwestern Ont. mayors call for province to help people who can't get flood insurance
Scores still waiting for relief after last year's flood
Three southwestern Ontario mayors are calling for the premier to create a provincially supported insurance program for residents who can no longer get flood insurance after more than 5,000 homes were damaged by record rains.
- Windsor mayor seeks disaster relief funding after flooding hits thousands of homes
- 'We're basically just waiting on a prayer': Windsor woman says after flooding
- Flooded homeowners should document clean-up effort and keep receipts, say restoration companies
The cry for help comes after 100-200 millimetres of rain doused Windsor and Essex County Monday and Tuesday, closing businesses and washing out roadways.
It surpassed the devastating flooding event of 11 months ago to become the "largest flood event in our city's recorded history," said Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens at a joint news conference with Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara and Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who also serves as Essex County Warden.
"I'm not going to sugar-coat it," Dilkens added. "This is terrible."
Windsor's 311 line received more than 4,458 reports of flooded basements by 9 a.m. Friday, and that number is expected to rise. More than 500 basements were flooded in Lakeshore and about 105 basements were flooded in Tecumseh, while about 20 homes were hit in LaSalle.
The province agreed last September that flood-ravaged city residents qualified for Disaster Relief Assistance but scores were left high and dry. Of 583 homeowners who asked for help, only 122 received any money. Another 235 claims were denied and another 226 remained bogged down in the system. It is unclear how many will be approved or when.
Dilkens said that sort of after-the-fact relief solution was not an insurance program and that the program has left scores of area homeowners "disgruntled and disappointed"
Flooded MPP says disaster relief isn't enough
Windsor-Tecumseh NDP Percy Hatfield, the critic for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, lost everything during the flooding last September and agreed the disaster relief program provides insufficient security when it comes to modern-day flooding events.
A flooded basement - but a full heart.<br><br>"That's the only thing we have is our neighbours now to rely on," said Marryann LaFlamme. <a href="https://t.co/pRKyoqR8i0">pic.twitter.com/pRKyoqR8i0</a>—@ChrisEnsingCBC
"The parameters set for disaster relief funding were set sometime in the last century, long before climate change has hit us like it has, and so I told the minister in the House we have to change the guidelines," said Hatfield. "We have to open them up, that because of the intensity of the storms, that we need fewer restrictions on those of us that have flooded basements in these huge storms."
No details from premier on pledge to help
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted support to flood-ravaged residents of Windsor Thursday and Dilkens called on her to go further and set up a flood insurance program for homeowners unable to get coverage because their home has flooded multiple times.
"We want the province -- and they're the only ones who can do it -- to step and say there is a program available where residents can have peace of mind and pay their premiums," said Dilkens. "We want to open this up so that they have an opportunity so that they can leave their house and know that they can get insured for a reasonable rate for basement type flooding events."
Dozens of homes, hundreds of people without power for the third day in Windsor.<br><br>This video is one home, one story.<a href="https://t.co/SxPmUP6cKw">https://t.co/SxPmUP6cKw</a> <a href="https://t.co/cLkcjgkNCh">pic.twitter.com/cLkcjgkNCh</a>—@ChrisEnsingCBC
When asked for clarification on what type of help the Premier would be providing, CBC Windsor was told she was not available for comment and questions should instead be directed to Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Ministry officials were expected to be on the ground in Windsor Friday, assessing the damage to again see if city residents would be cleared to apply for disaster relief assistance.
"The assessment will begin at that point," said Minister Bill Mauro. "They will go and do their work based on some of the data that we get back from the affected municipalities and they will make a recommendation to me."
Relief program doesn't cover sewer backup
If the province agrees this area was hit hard enough to trigger the assistance programs, residents would need to apply and have their claims approved. The program provides "partial financial assistance to return essential property to its basic function."
Flooding caused by "sewer backup is not generally eligible under the program" though "there is a special provision to provide assistance to low-income households."
The Shaker brothers should be getting ready for school - today they're hauling out ruined furniture, appliances. <a href="https://t.co/SxPmUP6cKw">https://t.co/SxPmUP6cKw</a> <a href="https://t.co/i5OUNz3i7C">pic.twitter.com/i5OUNz3i7C</a>—@ChrisEnsingCBC