Minister defends city’s disaster relief rejection

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson defended his

government’s decision to deny disaster relief funding to Hamilton after a

summer of punishing floods.

“Hamilton did not meet the criteria,” said Mr. Watson, as he

faced municipal officials, including Mayor Fred Eisenberger, and business

people at a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week.

The former mayor of Ottawa called it a “disaster” when his

city was hit by the 1998 ice storm.

But Hamilton’s two floods this summer, which affected about

7,000 homes, wasn’t a disaster, he said.

“A one in a 100-year storm is not unique,” he said.

In addition, part of the Ontario Disaster Relief Program

criteria includes an ability for the municipality to pay for the repairs. The

threshold, by provincial standards, for damage to the municipality’s assets is

about 4 per cent of its operating budget, he said. The damage to Hamilton’s

property amounted to no more than 1.9 per cent of the city’s operating budget.

Hamilton did not meet the criteria, he emphasized. “Nor did

Vaughan, or Sudbury,” he said.

Mr. Watson praised the city for creating a “unique” program

to assist residents who suffered through the floods. The cost to the municipal to

provide grants to homeowners affected by the damage could amount to about $6

million.

Vaughan applied for about $400,000 in funding form the

province, after suffering through a tornado, but earlier this month was also

turned down by the province.

Still, the province has doled out funds from ODRAP to a few

municipalities in disaster relief, including $180,000 to Haldimand County and

$40,000 to Wallaceburg for flooding damage. Monies were also given to Renfrew

Country after rain damaged cropland.

Mr. Watson said there needs to be a set criteria or every

municipality would start applying to the fund for anything and everything. He

acknowledged the impact the Liberal’s decision has had on the city.

Hamilton councillors were livid that once again Hamilton’s

funding request was denied. Hamilton had asked for financial assistance when a

tornado ripped through the Mountain area destroying Lawfield School.

Politicians have asked the provincial Ombudsman to review

the criteria for applying to ODRAP.

Minister defends city’s disaster relief rejection

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson defended his

government’s decision to deny disaster relief funding to Hamilton after a

summer of punishing floods.

“Hamilton did not meet the criteria,” said Mr. Watson, as he

faced municipal officials, including Mayor Fred Eisenberger, and business

people at a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week.

The former mayor of Ottawa called it a “disaster” when his

city was hit by the 1998 ice storm.

But Hamilton’s two floods this summer, which affected about

7,000 homes, wasn’t a disaster, he said.

“A one in a 100-year storm is not unique,” he said.

In addition, part of the Ontario Disaster Relief Program

criteria includes an ability for the municipality to pay for the repairs. The

threshold, by provincial standards, for damage to the municipality’s assets is

about 4 per cent of its operating budget, he said. The damage to Hamilton’s

property amounted to no more than 1.9 per cent of the city’s operating budget.

Hamilton did not meet the criteria, he emphasized. “Nor did

Vaughan, or Sudbury,” he said.

Mr. Watson praised the city for creating a “unique” program

to assist residents who suffered through the floods. The cost to the municipal to

provide grants to homeowners affected by the damage could amount to about $6

million.

Vaughan applied for about $400,000 in funding form the

province, after suffering through a tornado, but earlier this month was also

turned down by the province.

Still, the province has doled out funds from ODRAP to a few

municipalities in disaster relief, including $180,000 to Haldimand County and

$40,000 to Wallaceburg for flooding damage. Monies were also given to Renfrew

Country after rain damaged cropland.

Mr. Watson said there needs to be a set criteria or every

municipality would start applying to the fund for anything and everything. He

acknowledged the impact the Liberal’s decision has had on the city.

Hamilton councillors were livid that once again Hamilton’s

funding request was denied. Hamilton had asked for financial assistance when a

tornado ripped through the Mountain area destroying Lawfield School.

Politicians have asked the provincial Ombudsman to review

the criteria for applying to ODRAP.

Minister defends city’s disaster relief rejection

News Oct 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson defended his

government’s decision to deny disaster relief funding to Hamilton after a

summer of punishing floods.

“Hamilton did not meet the criteria,” said Mr. Watson, as he

faced municipal officials, including Mayor Fred Eisenberger, and business

people at a Hamilton Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week.

The former mayor of Ottawa called it a “disaster” when his

city was hit by the 1998 ice storm.

But Hamilton’s two floods this summer, which affected about

7,000 homes, wasn’t a disaster, he said.

“A one in a 100-year storm is not unique,” he said.

In addition, part of the Ontario Disaster Relief Program

criteria includes an ability for the municipality to pay for the repairs. The

threshold, by provincial standards, for damage to the municipality’s assets is

about 4 per cent of its operating budget, he said. The damage to Hamilton’s

property amounted to no more than 1.9 per cent of the city’s operating budget.

Hamilton did not meet the criteria, he emphasized. “Nor did

Vaughan, or Sudbury,” he said.

Mr. Watson praised the city for creating a “unique” program

to assist residents who suffered through the floods. The cost to the municipal to

provide grants to homeowners affected by the damage could amount to about $6

million.

Vaughan applied for about $400,000 in funding form the

province, after suffering through a tornado, but earlier this month was also

turned down by the province.

Still, the province has doled out funds from ODRAP to a few

municipalities in disaster relief, including $180,000 to Haldimand County and

$40,000 to Wallaceburg for flooding damage. Monies were also given to Renfrew

Country after rain damaged cropland.

Mr. Watson said there needs to be a set criteria or every

municipality would start applying to the fund for anything and everything. He

acknowledged the impact the Liberal’s decision has had on the city.

Hamilton councillors were livid that once again Hamilton’s

funding request was denied. Hamilton had asked for financial assistance when a

tornado ripped through the Mountain area destroying Lawfield School.

Politicians have asked the provincial Ombudsman to review

the criteria for applying to ODRAP.