By Lindsey Stuckless
The Haldimand Press
HALDIMAND—Haldimand County Council approved contacting the Ontario government to activate a program that will allow residents to request financial support for homes damaged in the October 31, 2019 windstorm.
The Disaster Recover for Ontarians allows residents to apply directly to the province to request support for up to $250,000 for damages related to a sudden and unexpected natural disaster. Only primary residential properties are eligible under the program. Seasonal homes and damages made to secondary buildings, garages, and landscaping are not eligible.
Before homeowners can receive any relief funds, insurance claims must be submitted. The province has full control of the fund and makes the final decision without input from the County.
Ward 2 Councillor John Metcalfe said residents have been devastated by the storm, and he hopes support will be extended to those in need.
“Hopefully, we can find ways to support those impacted, and going forward, it can be better for all of those suffering,” said Metcalfe.
The Halloween storm saw severe winds that downed trees and high waves that caused roadway flooding and damage throughout Haldimand County. The most significant damage occurred on Lakeshore Road east of Reicheld Road, which was covered in debris and had asphalt heaved by the strong waves.
Craig Manley, Chief Administrative Officer at Haldimand County, said that road staff has been working hard to clear debris and assess damage over the weekend. Repairs are currently underway. Staff installed a temporary gravel roadway for the most damaged section of Lakeshore Road. Permanent repairs will be made next year. The County’s Forestry Manager performed tree inspections, damage assessments, and debris cleanup in collaboration with Roads and Parks Operations staff.
“Staff have been very responsive, and we are appreciative of all the work that has been done,” said Manley.
The County may be able to recover some of the cost of the repairs through the Municipal Disaster Recovery Program. Similar to the program for residents, the County must go through insurance, and the cost of the repairs must be at least 3% of Haldimand’s operating budget, which is approximately $2 million.
Manley says staff are already tracking expenses and will know in the next few weeks if the repairs will be eligible to request support. Even if submitted, the province makes the final decision.
Mayor Ken Hewitt has asked staff to report back to Council with any possible savings the County can offer residents with significant damage to their properties.