Toronto Island flood repairs to cost $7.4M


POSTED JAN 10, 2018 6:44 PM EST

Repairing the damage from the flooding in Toronto last year will cost $7.4 million — most of which the city will defer until at least 2019.

That means when you set foot back on the Toronto Islands in a few months, it won’t be fully back to normal.

Melting snow and intense rain last spring caused the worst flooding in Toronto in a century. Lake Ontario reached unprecedented levels which, coupled with high winds, wrecked paths and other infrastructure, eroded shore lines and damaged trees, homes and businesses.

City documents show the preliminary budget only includes $2 million for repairs this year — and that has one city councillor up in arms.

“Last year, the city lost $5 million in revenue because that’s how popular our island is, for people to go there in the summer,” Coun. Paula Fletcher said.

“And we have to make sure that all of the beaches that people use, that we get them restored in 2018.”

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) said some of the repairs are being delayed precisely because they would prevent people from enjoying the islands.

“When we do our shoreline work, it is very heavy-equipment intensive and that also deters from visitor experience,” Nancy Gaffney of the TRCA said. “So, we want to make sure that those repairs are done after the summer.

“If any emerging issues are identified, I can assure you that the city and the TRCA will work very, very closely and very quickly to address those issues. So, whether or not it’s in the $2 million that’s been presented in budget, we’ll make sure that those repairs are fixed and visitor experience is not hindered.”

Crews will be out in the coming months to fully assess winter’s ravages on top of the damage from 2017.

A repair priority list for 2018 and 2019 is expected after the fall.

In the meantime, the city is taking proactive measures, like laying sandbags ahead of the coming thaw.

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