Toronto’s Extreme Weather Costs Total $171-million. A Disaster?
Toronto was flooded in July – cost $65 million. Then it was frozen in December – cost $106 million.
Toronto has about $30-million set aside in its extreme weather reserves. The city puts the cost of responding to and cleaning up after the emergency that left 300,000 Toronto households without power at $106-million. Of that, $13-million are costs to Toronto Hydro, with the city on the hook for the remaining $93-million. Once weather reserves are tapped, that still leaves a shortfall of more than $60-million with no clear source of funding. (Globe and Mail)
Today Toronto council is debating whether to declare itself a disaster zone to get provincial funding to help pay for the ice storm damage.
Meanwhile in Regina, where they are hardy types and used to the cold – they would never consider closing their airport or calling in the army to clear snow or help with an ice storm. Saskatchewan kept operating as usual while Toronto ground to a halt.
Resilient Regina. And Proud of It
Was Saskatchewan smug about it? Since hating Toronto is a national sport, of course they were. But a nice quote reflected why they could be self-satisfied. They had made decisions about infrastructure that have served them well:
Saskatchewan’s citizens have learned from past experience that we need to build our infrastructure to handle conditions that may be far out of the ordinary. (And that only figures to become an ever more important consideration as climate change makes our weather more prone to wild fluctuations.) And we’ve also built strong institutions – including Crown corporations and other public bodies – that have been able to maintain enough capacity to respond reasonably quickly and effectively to the worst conditions our province has had to offer. In sum, we’re better able to handle extreme conditions because our physical infrastructure is planned and maintained to take the public interest into account. And to be clear, that reflects a choice to apply resources to the common good that might otherwise have been directed elsewhere.
In the short term, we inevitably face arguments that we should focus more on cutting taxes than on investing in infrastructure whose importance won’t be obvious until disaster strikes. (Leader-Post)