Re: Stoney Creek homes flooded out – again, The News, Jan. 17
That’s twice in seven months for some Binbrook and Stoney Creek residents, and now 19 times in a little over 100 months that homes in Hamilton have been flooded. Councillors appear as frustrated as residents, and both are pointing at very rapid and excessive subdivision development as at least a partial cause. This should be investigated because there is little doubt that the stormwater management practices being followed here are inadequate.
There’s an understandable tendency to accuse the city of failing to prevent these damages and demanding that the municipality compensate affected residents. But this really amounts to people making themselves and their neighbours pay the bills as taxpayers. That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul or even to pay Peter.
There’s a much more appropriate target – the enormously wealthy fossil fuel companies whose products are so obviously changing our climate and causing greater weather extremes.
Last week’s flooding is a good example – a record rainfall and temperatures of 15C in the middle of January! Last summer’s deluge was even more unusual – a storm that used to be expected no more than once in a thousand years dumping six inches (150 mm) of rain in less than three hours.
The oil companies, the coal corporations and the natural gas suppliers should be required to pay for the damages caused by their products, instead of just being allowed to dump their wastes into our atmosphere free of charge. The Harper government should immediately stop its $1.4 billion annual subsidy for the oil industry and instead start flowing money in the opposite direction to cover the uninsured losses of flooded residents and other damages caused by increasingly dangerous climate change.
This is only going to get worse, and much more expensive. Because there’s a lag time in the effects of greenhouse gases, the warming and weird weather we’re seeing today is the result of pollution that occurred more than 40 years ago. We have to take action now, and the most effective place to start is forcing the fossil fuel industry to compensate its victims.