TORONTO – The city of Burlington hopes to raise $2 million in a fundraising campaign to help homeowners who suffered damage from the August 4 flood.
The city estimates more than 5,000 basements were flooded, with almost 500 residents caught with insufficient or no home insurance.
Eric Edge is one of those in need. In the three years he has lived in his home near Guelph Line and the QEW, he has had three sewage backups.
After the second incident, he was cut off from flood insurance, leaving him with no coverage when effluent poured in through a drain on the August holiday.
Edge showed Global News the lingering effects: mould inside a cabinet and along baseboards. His bedroom is in the basement but he and his wife do not have the money to move out until it is fixed.
“It’s not healthy. We’re stuck here,” he said.
Dry wall that was only installed a few months ago after the second flood now must be ripped out. He cannot afford to pay a recovery company to do the work, so he is calling upon friends to assist him in clearing out the basement.
He believes it makes no sense to do repairs again until a permanent solution is found to the continuing backups.
“I’ve had three city floods. I don’t think I should be responsible for that,” he said.
Watch previous stories on the Burlington flood
Edge was one of about 100 residents who attended a public meeting in which the city reported on efforts to assist the needy. He demanded to know when affected homeowners could expect help.
City officials say they have already raised about $450,000 in donations and hope to reach $2 million by October 4.
“There’s only one solution: raise money quickly, period,” said campaign director Wayne Hussey.
Burlington has applied for further assistance from the province under the Ontario Disaster Assistance Relief Program. If approved, Queen’s Park could deliver up to $2 for every one raised by the city.
Mayor Rick Goldring said even if the city reaches their goal it would not cover all the losses but would mitigate the costs for those most affected.
Global News asked the mayor whether Edge’s continuing problems with sewage backups indicated that hard questions need to be asked about the adequacy of municipal infrastructure.
“Absolutely. There needs to be a very detailed analysis of what happened,” said Goldring.
It can take up to a year for the province to decide whether a municipality qualifies for disaster funding, but the mayor said he is hopeful to get a ruling within months. The Flood Disaster Relief Committee plans to start distributing cheques by mid-September.
Edge is talking to the city about installing a backflow preventer that could stop another deluge of sewage. He would have to pay half, about $5000, but said his city councillor is lobbying to get it for him with no charge, given his repeated floods.
Burlington residents seeking information on how to apply for assistance can find the required form at: www.burlingtonfoundation.org. Or call 905-639-0744, ext. 223