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Final cost of ice storm $106M

Downed tree on a street in Brampton. COURTESY: @DLizcious/Twitter

The final bill for the massive ice storm that hit the GTA just before Christmas and left hundreds of thousands of people without power has come in at just over $100 million.

The numbers were brought forward in a report to Toronto council on Wednesday.

The city will now turn its attention to the provincial and federal governments to help pay part of the estimated $106 million cost.

On Monday Mayor Rob Ford reiterated his plans to ask the province for funding to help with the extensive clean up.

“We need the provincial government to help out with this effort,” he said. “It’s just not affecting Toronto. It’s affecting a lot of the regions around Toronto.”

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly says he is optimistic the province will come through with financial help.

“The province has cooperated with us all the way through the crisis,” he said. “I’m hoping that they will continue to do so and give us a helping hand.”

Combining the cost of the ice storm with the damage caused by the July 2013 rain storm puts the city on the hook in excess of $171 million.

City manager Joe Pennachetti says the cost of the two disasters gives the city a better chance of getting funding from the province.

However, he adds that the city needs to be declared a disaster zone.

“We believe that we’ve got a strong argument now with the combination of both storms,” he explained. “Without them approving that it was a disaster we can’t even apply for assistance.”

Pennachetti said the city submitted a request to the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP) for $65 million following the July rain storm but the province said the criteria for funding was not met.

“In combination we have $171 million plus of impact between the summer storm and the winter storm.  That is nearly five per cent of our tax base,” he said. “We really hope the province and the federal governments will look at this now and say this is big.”

Kelly says he agrees, adding that he thinks it makes sense to put both calamitous impacts on the city’s budget together on one proposal.

Ford has called a special council meeting on Friday to seek provincial funding and present the final clean up numbers to the province then.