Toronto to seek federal, provincial funding for storm cleanup
The City of Toronto will be asking the provincial and federal governments for a combined $114 million to help cover the costs of two severe storms that cost the city $171 million in 2013.
On the second day of a special two-day meeting, Toronto’s City Council voted 39-0 on Monday in favour of asking for assistance from the provincial and federal governments. Toronto Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the request is justified by the fact that Toronto’s residents pay $9 billion to the two levels of government each year.
December’s ice storm resulted in an estimated $106 million in damages and July’s heavy rain storm is estimated to have cost the city $65.2 million. The $57 million Toronto hopes to secure from each level of government would split the financial burden an even three ways.
Both storms caused extensive power outages, dangerous driving conditions and stalled flights; the ice storm clean-up of branches, snow and ice stretching over several days.
A decision had to be made before midnight on Monday in order for the city to be eligible for a particular funding program that requires Toronto to be a "natural disaster area."
Despite the unanimous agreement over how to pay for the storms, the debate at city hall quickly turned into an argument over who was in charge during the ice storm.
If Ford had declared a state of emergency, that would have given the deputy mayor full control because of the mayor’s reduced powers. Instead, both represented the city -- although Premier Kathleen Wynne communicated only with Kelly.
"I can assume that if we had one person communicating on behalf of the city, communication would have been improved," TTC Chair Coun. Karen Stintz said.
"It was me," Ford interjected.
Stintz replied: "OK, but it wasn't you because you didn't speak to the premier did you?"
In response to Stintz, Ford said he was leading during the storm, in conjunction with City Manager Joe Pennachetti, Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines, TTC CEO Andy Byford and a few others. He then implied that Stintz was noticeably absent during the storm.
"I remember you saying 'I got the TTC up and running,' and with all due respect councillor Stintz you were nowhere to be found during the 10 days of the storm," Ford said.
Stintz fired back that “just because you didn’t see me doesn’t mean I wasn’t there.”
The mayor has accused his opponents of using the two-day meeting to grandstand and score political points.
Stintz announced last year that she plans to challenge Ford in the upcoming mayoral election.