City of Barrie footing a portion of the bill after July's tornado

The City of Barrie will have to pay roughly $375,000 after an EF-2 tornado stormed through a south-end community in July, a cost that is far less than anticipated.

The city's finance director and treasurer Craig Millar said $117,000 of the cost is for street fixtures, while most of it will cover policing costs and overtime for cleanup crews.

The costs breakdown as such:

  • Repair/replacement of damaged street fixtures, equipment, trees, and recycling bins $117,000
  • Police related $83,000
  • City overtime $54,000
  • Clean up costs (waste and tree debris removal, street sweeping, waived landfill fees) $52,000
  • Lighting, generators, safety fencing $27,000
  • Lost property tax and water/wastewater revenue $21,000
  • Transit $ 3,000

The twister caused about $75 million in insurance claims, with ongoing repairs and construction in the Prince William Way neighbourhood.

Mike Hill lives in the neighbour hit by the tornado.

"We're still living out of boxes. We got the carpeting done yesterday and the painting. They are supposed to be coming this month to do the windows and the doors," he added.

City records show 21 of 70 unsafe work orders issued after the tornado have now been lifted.

More than 50 permits have been issued for remedial work, including five demolition licenses, which could cover taking down homes or other structures on the property.

Millar said the city isn't eligible for any provincial emergency funding.

"There is a program that the province offers to municipalities, but in order to qualify, the city would have to have costs of over $7 million, which obviously we didn't, gladly enough," he noted.

Millar said the city would try to pay for the work through its existing budget, and if short at the end of the year, it would use its stabilization reserves.

In the meantime, contractors are working non-stop to get people back in their homes.

Chase Gallacher, Chase Contracting and Home Improvements, said crews are keeping busy.

"Basically, we move from one house to the next, like we'll do a house, and then you know the neighbours will see us, and we've just been going home to home."

Still, some homeowners have been told it will be months before they get their windows installed, and with colder temperatures looming, the race is on.