Local authorities in several southwestern Ontario communities are prioritizing flood mitigation projects five years after a massive rainstorm caused heavy flooding in the area.
It was on September 29, 2016, when a heavy downpour dropped 200 millimetres of rain in the Windsor-Essex area, overwhelming pumps and sewer systems in just a matter of hours, CBC News reported. Around 4,300 residents in Windsor and Tecumseh were affected by floods, which Environment Canada described as one of the country’s worst natural disasters that year.
Data gathered by CBC News from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) showed that the event triggered more than 6,000 claims under auto, home, and business policies, exceeding $100 million.
Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara told CBC News that the event was a “pivotal moment” for the community and made flood mitigation endeavours a “priority at all levels.”
Since the 2016 flooding, the municipality has been working to increase the capacity of its eight pump stations, including the Scully Storm Pump Station in Tecumseh. However, McNamara said the funding needed to keep properties protected from future flooding would need to double.
“When everything is said and done, we’re probably going to need $200 million,” he said.
The federal government will partially cover improvement costs of the Tecumseh pump station through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF), which will also cover part of Windsor’s revamping of its sewer system.
Both Windsor and Tecumseh have successfully applied to the program, but only after each submitted three separate applications, according to CBC News.
“We knew that the infrastructure in Riverside was in need of an investment,” Ward 6 councillor Jo-Anne Gignac told CBC News. “These problems have been percolating for years.”
Gignac added that apart from multi-million-dollar flood prevention projects, local authorities are working on pilot projects such as placing of water storage, along with planting of trees, under the parking lot of Tranby Park to mitigate flooding. The project is also partially funded through the DMAF.