September 11th, 2017

Open Letter: Andrea Horwath to Premier Kathleen Wynne regarding the flooding in Windsor area

September 7, 2017
Hon. Kathleen Wynne Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building Queen's Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Wynne:
Today, I joined Windsor area MPPs as well as the City's Mayor to survey the damage caused by severe flooding and speak to impacted residents.
I was both shocked and saddened by the extent of the damage. The basements of more than 5,000 homes were flooded, residents went without power for days, and thousands of families are still coping with the effects of the record breaking rainfall. While I am relieved that the rainfall has subsided, our attention must now turn to assisting city officials in clearing damaged property from streets and helping Windsor families get their lives back on track.

Despite the tireless efforts of sanitation staff to clear debris and damaged items from curbsides as quickly as possible resources are stretched to their limits. While a garbage truck can typically visit 300 homes before reaching capacity, the property damage is so severe that trucks are full after visiting just three homes. The longer residents wait for debris to be removed the greater the potential health and safety risk as people clear out sewer damaged items from their homes.
Premier, the situation is urgent. Municipal staff and resources are already fully utilized, but it is not enough. I urge you to make available provincial resources to help municipal workers, including assistance in locating and deploying garbage trucks that are so desperately needed. The provincial government should also expedite permits to allow garbage trucks from Michigan to cross the border in order to help.
When the immediate crisis has subsided, the people of Windsor will need help rebuilding their lives. I appreciate that Minister Mauro has activated the Disaster Recovery Assistance Program, but it is important that this assistance start flowing without needless delays or red tape. There are still over 200 victims of the 2016 floods waiting for their claim through the program to be processed. This year, more than a week passed before your government even informed residents that they can qualify for assistance under this program. The provincial government needs to do better.

Premier, the province must do its part to help Windsor families put their experience behind them and get back to their lives. I urge you to act without delay and assist the people of Windsor in their time of need.

Andrea Horwath, MPP
Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats