Tory thanks workers who aided in flood relief of Toronto Islands this summer
Toronto Mayor John Tory visits Toronto Islands in the wake of heavy summer flooding, encouraging city folk to visit the popular summer destination while the weather stays warm.
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 11:38AM EDT
Mayor John Tory visited Toronto Islands this morning to thank the city workers and volunteers who assisted in flood relief efforts following unprecedented rainfall this past spring.
The record-breaking May rain caused widespread pooling, breached lake levels and damaged infrastructure.
The conditions forced the city to close much of the islands for several weeks.
City crews stationed on the island were tasked with monitoring the conditions and spent many hours deploying more than 40,000 sandbags and aiding residents. About 700 people live on the island full time.
Tory said he believes the hard work of the city workers and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority prevented a more dire situation, but acknowledged that more needs to be done to prevent a second coming.
“There is a lot of work that remains to be done. Some of the sandbags will be taken away and some will be left here because we can’t necessarily know what the water levels will be like next year, so it’s just prudent to leave some here,” he said.
“In the longer term, there are millions of dollars of projects that are in the city budget now to fix up some of the seawalls and do some things that will improve the ability of the island to withstand higher water levels.”
Along with leaving sandbags on the island, Tory said crews are working to ensure that water pumps are properly installed in advance of next spring.
He said that the city is also looking into budgeting repairs to a main road on the island that was submerged in flood waters during the ordeal – making it difficult to travel from one affected area to another.
“It’s a very low level and if you assume these problems are going to repeat themselves, you might raise the level of the road and that’s a significant project and that’s not in the budget,” he said. “So we’re going to have to take a look as to whether that’s something that’s sensible.”
Tory went on to encourage Torontonians to take advantage of the beautiful September weekend ahead and visit the island.
He said the lengthy closure of one of Toronto’s most popular tourist attractions has had a negative impact on the businesses that rely on visitors during the summer months.
“I will tell you since the park was reopened and ferry service resumed they haven’t made the numbers they would make on an average weekend, say in August or September of last year,” he said.
“I just hope the people, if they’re thinking of something to do on this fantastic weekend, will think of coming to the island and going to Centreville and going to the restaurants and patronizing those businesses because those are people who have had a tough year. You can help out the businesses, see the best park in town and have a good time with your family all at once.”