By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
After more than a year of waiting and negotiating through a convoluted application process, both the City of Oshawa and the Region of Durham, along with municipalities across the GTA, are starting to receive a portion of relief funds for damages caused during the devastating 2013 ice storm.
The city is slated to receive an interim payment of $571,619, about 35 per cent of the total $1.6 million the city requested.
“We were happy to see some progress,” says city manager Bev Hendry.
The money will go to replenish the city’s depleted winter maintenance reserve.
“That’s to replenish what we used during the incident at the time,” Hendry explains.
The ice storm, which struck on Dec. 22, 2013, left thousands across the city without power and clogged arterial roads with downed trees and treacherous driving conditions.
“We appreciate the province recognizing the significant financial impact of the 2013 ice storm by providing assistance,” states mayor John Henry in a news release. “We welcome the first installment and look forward to receiving the additional installments.”
For the Region of Durham the first installment is set to come in the form of a payment $525,000. Similar to Oshawa, this amounts to approximately 35 per cent of its $1.5-million request and will work to recover costs related to pick up and disposal of downed branches, unexpected road maintenance and the opening of warming centres.
The Ice Storm Assisstance Program, approved in February 2014, will see the province would cover 100 per cent of eligible disaster response and recovery costs associated with the storm.
Although the first installment does not guarantee the remainder of a city’s request will be provided, Hendry says she is hopeful a final decision will come within the next month as the province’s year-end approaches on March 31.
“We’ve had lots of discussions back and forth,” Hendry says.
The storm was the worst winter storm and physical damage the city has seen in decades, a release from the city states.
At the height of the storm, more than 800,000 hydro customers across the province were without power.