New pilot program will help build infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather
June 27, 2019 8:00 A.M.
BRACEBRIDGE — The Ontario Government is putting people first by ensuring communities across the province are protected from future extreme weather damage by funding a new pilot program.
The Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance (MDRA) program provides financial assistance to eligible communities that face extraordinary emergency response and repair costs after a natural disaster.
“This spring we saw the devastating effect of flooding in many Ontario communities,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We want to help municipalities build back better – to flood damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure to a higher standard, so it can better withstand extreme weather and we know that some municipalities have limited financial resources to improve local infrastructure. By not having to rebuild the same washed-out road or bridge again and again, communities will save money over the long-term.”
As part of a $1 million pilot project, the province will provide municipalities that qualify for MDRA funding with up to 15 per cent above the estimated cost of rebuilding damaged public infrastructure to make it more resilient to extreme weather. Examples could include raising roads to provide better overland flow of water, improving the columns or footings of bridges, or increasing the size of ditches and catch basins to increase their capacity to hold water. Communities that were affected by spring flooding that occurred after March 1, 2019 are eligible for the enhanced funding under the pilot.
Investments that help reduce the risk of repeated damage due to extreme weather can save municipalities, small businesses and homeowners time and money, and keep residents safer when disasters do strike.
“Given that we’ve had two ‘hundred-year’ floods in a few years, I am pleased that we are going to support municipalities to redesign and rebuild essential municipal infrastructure so that it will be better able to withstand future flooding,” said Norm Miller, Member of Provincial Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “Our government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan supports updating government policies to improve climate resilience. This is something our local mayors and I raised with the Minister a few weeks ago and Minister Clark has acted quickly to make these changes to help the communities that suffered flooding in the spring.”
“The Town of Bracebridge applauds the provincial government for this initiative to help municipalities recover from extreme weather events such as the flooding that hit Bracebridge and the Muskoka region this spring,” said Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith. “The opportunity to improve the quality of municipal infrastructure impacted by a flood or other significant weather event saves time and money and allows municipalities to better manage their finances in the long term.”
- The Insurance Bureau of Canada reported that insured damage from severe weather across Canada reached $1.9 billion in 2018.
- Our government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan supports updating government policies to improve climate resilience.
- Our government established an Internal Task Force to address risks of flooding and recently conducted an online survey to identify ways to help make our communities more resilient to flooding.
- Julie O’Driscoll
- Conrad Spezowka