Prevention ‘key’ in homeowners flooding protection

By Karen Fallon

Noting it as a “positive step for the town” council was asked to consider implementing a backflow or basement flooding protection subsidy program, such as the one executed by Windsor and which is currently in the works for the Tecumseh.

Donna Hibbert, says prevention is the key to helping those homeowners impacted by a heavy rainfall event such as the one experienced by the town on Aug. 9.

Hibbert and her husband Geoff were among the 600 homeowners that experienced flooding due to the earlier storm that over took the carrying capacity of the municipality’s storm system.

Hibbert says they count themselves among the fortunate ones as they had full insurance coverage for all the contents of their home.

However, she pointed out many of their neighbours have not been as lucky as most are still dealing with “many, many issues” left in the wake of the flood.

Hibbert says her concerns over such flooding, which often results in sewage back-up in many homes includes: prevention, health risks, property values and prevention coverage.

When it comes to prevention Hibbert pointed to the backflow or basement flooding protection subsidy program such as the one implement by Windsor city council on May 3.

The BFP is a program to financially assist homeowners by way of a subsidy to install a sump pump and/or backwater valve (flood protection devices).

The maximum eligible subsidy limit for Windsor residents is $2,800 per home/unit.

“The whole thing in my opinion was the perfect storm of if,” said Hibbert. “If it had not rained so much; if the hydro had not gone out; if the new compensation was fully operational I would not have to be here tonight.”

“We can spend a lot of time pointing fingers and being angry or we can spend our time being on the same team and looking for solutions,” she continued.

Councillor John Sutton says he agrees that prevention is “key.”

Sutton made a motion to direct administration to come back to council with a “reviewed scope including the cost and cause.” This would include “some” of the smoke testing and camera work that was previously planned as well as looking into a prevention program.

Both Windsor and Tecumseh started with a report, noted Sutton.

“We need that information to put our heads around it,’ he noted.

“I think it would be wonderful to be able to look at investing some of our tax dollars in the community versus spending it on an answer we already have,” said councilor Carolyn Davies.

Councillor Diane Pouget pointed out that instead of spending a “lot of money on an independent report” the town is going to go ahead with work that can be done by the public works department.

Although administration will work as “quickly as possible” to get the report back to council before budget deliberations, it is a hefty task that will require time to put together, notes CAO Pam Malott.


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