January 3, 2014 6:00 pm

Deputy mayor explores calling in army to help Toronto’s ice storm cleanup

ABOVE: Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly discusses why he is exploring option of bringing in army for ice storm cleanup

TORONTO – Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly is exploring the option of calling in the Canadian army to help with the massive ice storm cleanup efforts which Toronto city official say could take up to two months to complete.

“If we can use the army, in one fashion or another, to shorten that time,…why not take a look at the option,” Kelly told reporters at city hall on Friday.

Kelly asked staff on Thursday to look into the proper protocols needed to go through with the request.

In order to request troops from the federal government, the city must first notify the province of its desire for additional help.

The mayor’s official twitter account was used Friday afternoon to dismiss the idea of calling in the army.

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The mayor has historically not administered his own Twitter account.

What do you think: Should the City of Toronto make a formal request to send in the army to help with the ice storm cleanup? Let us know on our Facebook page.

The Dec. 21 ice storm caused up to 300,000 homes in Toronto to lose power, some for a week or longer.

At the time, Mayor Rob Ford said calling for a state of emergency wasn’t necessary and the city could handle the ice storm on its own.

VIDEO: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said on Dec. 23, 2013 that the city is not in a state of emergency as it continues to recover from the ice storm.

The deputy mayor told reporters on Friday that he and staff actually recommended for the declaration to be made.

“We did look at that but it was regrettably dismissed,” said Kelly. “I thought there was a symbolic value to declaring an emergency, cause it sends a message to everyone that we take this very very seriously.”

The last time Toronto called in the army to deal with a weather related emergency was back in 1999 when then mayor Mel Lastman asked for soldiers to help in the city’s snow removal efforts.

A blizzard had dumped 118 centimetres of snow on the ground.

City staff estimates the ice storm cleanup efforts, which involves removing fallen trees and debris, may cost upwards of $75 million.

In a press conference on Thursday, officials said close to 600 city employees would be needed to clear residential areas, streets, roads and public parks.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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