Storm Labelled Windsor's Single-Largest Flooding Event Ever

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says this week's massive storm was the single-largest flood event in the city's history.

He told a news conference heard live on AM800 nearly 3,800 homes have been flooded.

Dilkens has asked the city engineer to accelerate the city's storm sewer master plan, which is not expected before council until next year. He will also recommend to council that the city cover 100% of the cost of the back-water valve and sump pump programs up to $2,800.

"That covers installation of a backwater valve, sump pump, and the disconnect and diversion from the sump pit," says Dilkens. "The idea is to not change the criteria for the program, but to now cover 100% of the costs."

While Windsor bore the brunt of the storm impact this week, Tecumseh and Lakeshore also had significant issues.

In Tecumseh, at least 150 homes have reported flooding — the number is over 500 in Lakeshore.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara says the town is beginning what's expected to be an expensive fix ahead of any future flooding.

"The full master plan on our sewage and storm water — that will be coming to council shortly to try to figure out ways we can mitigate some of the situations," says McNamara.

Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain says their problems began with the storm late Monday.

"This was complicated by the fact there was a car crash that knocked the hydro out in th Puce-Emeryville area so homes didn't have sump pumps working," says Bain. "Unless you had a backup system and a generator of your own ... there was no power to pump out your basement."


Map showing where the worst flooding happened Wednesday afternoon (by AM800's Peter Langille)

The Windsor mayor's push for an increased subsidy for the back-water valve program comes on the heels of Dilkens asking the province to construct a flood insurance system for residents who can't get insurance.

"I'm asking the Province of Ontario to work on a program of insurance that will allow residents who are no longer eligible to receive flood insurance the ability to purchase insurance at a reasonable cost," says Dilkens. "This is something only the province can do and it's something needed urgently in our community and likely many others."

The minister of the municipal affairs ministry has been in touch with the local communities and will now be sending a team to assess the damage. Should the province open up Disaster Recover Assistance funding, residents and businesses will then be eligible to apply for help with the cost of repairs.

McNamara say it's an issue needing to be tackled head on.

"Water doesn't know boundaries and we need to start working collectively together," says McNamara. "We've had those discussions and appealing to the province as well on how our master plan will indicate where our most vulnerable areas in our communities are and how do we try to mitigate those."

Dilkens also thanked the residents who came out to help neighbours during and after the storm event.

"It's just such a Windsor-Essex thing for people to help their neighbours and make sure everyone's getting back on their feet," says Dilkens.

All three mayors agreed the Essex Region Conservation Authority also has a key role to play in preventing future flooding.