Ford requests meeting with Wynne to discuss storm cleanup costs
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 3:56PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 14, 2014 7:43PM EST
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is asking for a one-on-one meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss provincial funding to help cover the cost of two storms that hit the Greater Toronto Area last year.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Ford said that in the aftermath of the December ice storm and a July storm that flooded large parts of the city, it's time for the province to step up.
"Friends, there's no question about it … Mother Nature hit the city of Toronto harder than any other year this year," he said, noting the costs from the two storms is estimated to be about $171 million.
"Now we need the province to get on board and help us with the cost of the cleanup efforts," Ford said. "I have reached out to the premier this afternoon for an urgent meeting."
Despite Ford's request, however, Wynne's spokesperson says the premier will continue to meet with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who represents Toronto’s city council after Ford was stripped of most his mayoral powers last year.
On Friday, Ontario's Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Linda Jeffrey will be meeting with municipal leaders to discuss cleanup funding for last month's crippling ice storm.
Ford said he plans on attending Friday's meeting to talk over how to approach the provincial government with the funding request in a united manner.
"It is absolutely essential for Toronto to take a leadership role in requesting assistance, not only for our residents, but also for our neighbours." he said. "That is why I am adding my voice to this important issue and asking to meet with the premier one-on-one, as soon as possible."
The request for a meeting with Wynne comes a day after Toronto city council voted unanimously to seek funding assistance from the provincial and federal governments to help with the cleanup efforts. Following Monday's vote, the city will request $57 million from both the province and Ottawa.
Because of Ford's diminished powers, both he and Kelly were seen handling last month's ice storm. However, Wynne had said she had only been communicating with Kelly.
At the time, the premier maintained that she was in constant contact with the "decision makers" at city hall.
But at Tuesday's news conference Ford said he's hopeful that a meeting with Wynne will be arranged, adding that he's already put in a request by phone and email.
"The ball now is in the province's court," he said. "I'm very confident that they will listen and support the people of Toronto and the GTA during this challenging time. "