City seeking provincial disaster funding

The City of Burlington will seek emergency funding from the province and Halton Region to help victims whose homes were affected by the Aug. 4 and May 13 floods.

At a special City Council meeting today, City Council approved a direction to Halton Region to give immediate help to approximately 80 homes that have been flooded more than once.The city also approved moving forward with an application to receive Ontario Disaster Recovery Assistance Program funding (ORAP).

“People have been devastated, their lives shaken upside down,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “People lost so many personal things, their clothes, furnaces, washers and dryers. They need immediate help.”

United Way reports that nearly $75,000 has been raised through the Burlington Flood Relief effort.

Under the ODRAP funding, a municipality must set-up a fund and have a committee in place to administer it. The province can then give the municipality as much as $2 for every $1 raised.

“This is a time for all levels of government and the community to work together to help the people of Burlington,” said Mayor Goldring. “On the surface, this is an invisible disaster. The only evidence to anyone passing by is the couches and rolls of carpet piled up by the curb, the multiple bags of garbage and the giant garbage bins in driveways.”

Halton Region has removed the three-bag limit on garbage during the cleanup and has put in place extra trucks in areas where flooding took place. The city has relaxed overnight parking regulations. The city and region have hired Canadian Red Cross and its volunteers to go door-to-door in the affected areas to assess the extent of the damage and determine who needs help.

Those who are reporting a flooded basement are asked to call 311. Both the city and the region have added extra staff to take phone calls through 311, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Samaritan’s purse has organized basement cleanups that begin this weekend and can be reached at 905-592-1874. The city has created a community bulletin board at where people can share the goods or services they have to offer for flood victims, and where people affected by the flood can browse to see what they need.

“The city has been taking care of the roads, sidewalks, creek banks, parks and bridges,” said Scott Stewart, general manager of development and infrastructure. “We are using staff in the field as well as specialized equipment to ensure our watercourses are not blocked and that our roads and sidewalks are safe.”

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to the many city and regional staff who worked around the clock for the people of Burlington,” Stewart said. “We realize that getting back to normal is a high priority, and we continue working to achieve that.”

The city began its storm response during the extreme rainfall of Aug. 4 with the Burlington Fire Department helping to rescue stranded motorists from their vehicles. The next steps are to continue the cleanup and work toward a long-term plan to prevent water and sewer backup in homes.

For more information about what to do when you have flooding, including how to clean up after flooding, For information about Halton Region’s rebate program or waste collection updates, call 311.

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