Province offering nearly $900,000 to Uxbridge for infrastructure damage from last year’s tornado

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Published March 21, 2023 at 1:13 pm

Post-tornado devastation in Uxbridge

Uxbridge is getting nearly $900,000 from the provincial government to address “extraordinary emergency response costs” and infrastructure damage from an F2 tornado that touched down last May, causing widespread devastation downtown and throughout the township.

The Ontario government is providing municipalities with up to $5 million in provincial disaster recovery funding to help cover the costs of the emergency response and repairs to municipal infrastructure related from what is being called a ‘derecho’ – a widespread, long-lived windstorm – that moved across southeastern Ontario on May 21, bringing winds of up to 120 km/hr throughout the area.

The severe weather resulted in “significant” municipal costs for emergency response, including providing shelters for residents and cleaning up fallen trees and branches along roads, as well as for repairs to damaged municipal infrastructure.

Uxbridge is one of ten municipalities receiving funding under the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program to repair damage to essential municipal property or infrastructure like bridges, roads and public buildings. The $881,000 the township can apply for is second only to the $932,000 offered to the Township of Addington Highlands, which is located north of Kingston.

Addington Highlands residents were left without power and clean water for weeks after the tornado and were punished again in early summer when another major storm ripped through the area.

The ten municipalities eligible for funding under the program are:

  • Township of Addington Highlands (up to $932,000)
  • Township of Uxbridge ($881,000)
  • Alfred and Plantagenet ($809,000)
  • City of Clarence-Rockland ($751,000)
  • Township of Tudor and Cashel ($531,000)
  • Township of Limerick ($402,000)
  • Township of Greater Madawaska ($272,000)
  • Township of North Frontenac ($193,000)
  • Township of Asphodel-Norwood ($142,000)
  • Township of Wollaston ($117,000)

“The Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance program is an important source of funding for municipalities that have suffered extensive damage due to unexpected natural disasters,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who thanked municipal staff, volunteers and emergency responders for “working together to keep people safe during the storm.”

The program helps municipalities address extraordinary emergency response costs as well as damage to essential municipal property or infrastructure like bridges, roads and public buildings, as a result of a natural disaster.

Eligible expenses under the program may include operating and capital costs that are over and above regular municipal budgets and are directly linked to the disaster. A municipality may be eligible for the program if its disaster-related costs reach a threshold of three per cent of its own-purpose taxation levy.

The Province activated Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program for qualified residents last year with funds available to help property owners and tenants recover costs after a natural disaster including:

  • clean up expenses
  • costs to repair or replace essential property
  • basic emergency expenses

Residents had to apply through their insurance company first for coverage and any insurance payments were deducted from eligible costs.

Flooding related to sewer backup was not covered (except under special provisions for low income households) and secondary residences and cottages were also not eligible for assistance. The program did not cover costs such as refinishing basement recreation rooms or restoring landscaping, fencing, retaining walls, docks or boathouses.

Uxbridge Township also pledged $30,000 to residents and businesses to help them recover from the disaster.

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