As climate change takes hold, the danger of flooding across the city, and particularly Ward 3, is becoming acute. The Toronto Region Conservation Authority recently created new maps to indicate where the dangers from a severe flood are greatest. The City and the Region will be reaching out to affected homeowners in the old Unionville area (including me!)
Unionville is also part of the City’s 30-year flood mitigation program, funded by the annual $50 fee on your tax bill. Some of the storm water sewers in the older neighbourhoods simply are not big enough. Work to improve a similar situation in Thornhill is well underway. As the City moves forward in Unionville there will be consultation with affected residents. Some streets will experience major disruptions as pipes are dug up and replaced. Where appropriate, other underground utility work will also be done at the same time. Unfortunately, we are not at the stage where we can identify with any accuracy the exact homes and streets that will be affected by the construction, but if you are one of them, you will be contacted, likely within the next couple of years.
While the flood mitigation work is essential, we will never be able to protect every home. Some of our neighbourhoods are built in places where we would never allow homes today. In some cases insurance against overland flooding is not available. So, understanding what to do in the event of a flood is essential. The City is working on a public education campaign to help us all know how to prepare and what to do when the time comes. At a minimum, don’t store valuable items in your basement! And the building code requires that basement bedrooms have windows of a particular size to allow for escape from fires and floods.