City budget a wet blanket for Toronto Islands

By SmartCoverage Team on January 10th, 2018

The Toronto Islands saw massive flooding last summer due to unusually high water levels in Lake Ontario. As we reported in June 2017, a large portion of the islands were closed to tourists, and its daily ferries were suspended. Toronto’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation estimated the damage at $4.8 million during the event, while the City predicted it could lose at least $2 million in revenue due to its summer closure.

This year’s preliminary budget is only allocating $2 million towards fixing the flood damage, now estimated at more than $7.4 million. The rest of the work is slated for 2019 or later.

Councillor Paula Fletcher's response? “That’s not good enough.”

She says she’ll push for the entire amount necessary to repair the damage in her ward, which includes the Port Lands and the Leslie Street Spit.

City officials are reportedly still assessing the damage as the winter continues to drop snow on southern Ontario. Repairs to walking paths and the addition of permanent water pumps are some of the islands' most needed improvements.

Woodbine Beach and the Scarborough Bluffs have already seen repairs, but until the water levels have receded and the shorelines become visible again, there’s no telling how much must be done.

The Islands house a community of about 300 homes, concentrated on both Ward’s Island and Algonquin Island near the east end of the network. Last April’s winter thaw, combined with an “exceptionally rainy spring” filled Lake Ontario 43 centimetres higher than its normal levels by the end of May 2017.

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