The City of Dryden continues to complete repairs to infrastructure damaged as a result of August 12th's sudden rains. In addition, we are monitoring roads and other areas to detect signs of any further damage that may become evident as time goes on. City Administration is also in the process of collecting the costs associated with the repairs to roads, culverts, sewers and other infrastructure. Once the total costs are known, they will be used to prepare an operational de-briefing to Council, including an assessment on the potential impact to current and future budgets.
In addition to the impact on City infrastructure, we recognize that many citizens and businesses also suffered significant damage as a result of this extreme weather event, many of whom are continuing to work with their insurance companies and contractors to complete repairs. We hope this work can be completed in a timely manner and that everyone can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Some citizens have asked why a "State of Emergency" was not declared, thinking that this may have helped both the City and its citizens in terms of providing financial aid from other levels of government down the road. This was considered at the time. After consultation with local and other Municipal and Provincial government authorities and review of the Province's checklist of 20 criteria for calling such an event it was determined there would be no benefit to the community with such a declaration.
In Dryden’s circumstance, not declaring an "Emergency" with the Province does not impact the ability of the City, its citizens and businesses in applying to the Province and qualifying for financial assistance due to damage from a natural disaster. This assumes that the damage in question meets Provincial requirements for assistance under the “Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance Program”.
Note that Provincial guidelines state:
- Declaring an emergency does not guarantee financial or other provincial aid.
- Declaring an emergency does not initiate the Disaster Recovery Assistance of Ontario program.
Launched earlier this year by the Provincial government, the new Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program provides assistance to individuals, small businesses, farmers and not-for-profit organizations who have experienced damage to, or loss of, essential property as a result of a natural disaster.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is responsible for oversight of such programs. The Ministry was in Dryden inspecting damaged infrastructure, including a number of private dwellings on August 17th and 18th and will prepare a report, with the findings to be incorporated into Administration's debriefing to Council. We will continue to provide updates to the public as we receive them.
Finally, I want to thank our citizens for looking out for each other as the rainstorm impacted neighbors and friends. We're not finished dealing with the results of such a sudden event but your compassionate efforts reflect a caring community we can all be proud of.
Mayor of Dryden