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Ice storm: Toronto council votes 39-0 to ask for funding relief

Watch the video above: Council debate over ice storm descends into ‘melee.’ Jackson Proskow reports. 

TORONTO – Toronto city council voted 39-0 in favour of asking the province to declare it a “disaster area.”

The move would allow Toronto to ask for money from the federal and provincial governments to help with storm cleanup costs.

The city is facing a $171-million tab following last year’s flood and ice storm.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly prefers to have the provincial and federal government pay one third each of the cleanup costs.

“We don’t need all of that $57-million right away,” Kelly told reporters prior to Monday’s special meeting session. “What we’re trying to do is to obtain enough money to get the repairs done this year and have money in place to do the repair work that lay ahead of in 2015, 2016 and 2017.”

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Toronto was his by a severe rainstorm on July 8 that flooded parts of the city, then by a pre-Christmas ice storm that downed hydro lines and left hundreds of thousands without power for days.

Doug Ford says the mayor will likely launch a task force to appeal for funding from higher levels of government.

“He’s going to be reaching out to GTA mayors and hopefully we’re going to get the money from the province,” Ford told the media. “The premier is either going to support the people of Toronto and the GTA, or not.”

Mayor Rob Ford’s reluctance to declare a state of emergency during the ice storm was an area of concern for some councillors following the vote. Scarborough councillor Raymond Cho asked Ford why he didn’t call a state of emergency. Ford repeated that a declaration was not needed and said he “led the charge” during the storm.

Councillor Joe Mihevc wondered whether the mayor has the credibility to ask for funding from the province after repeatedly turning down help in the past.

With files from The Canadian Press

VIDEO: Toronto council considers asking the provincial government to declare the city a disaster area at a special meeting last Friday (Jan 10). Jackson Proskow reports.

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