Wilmot Township Gives a Dam
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We, the undersigned, request that the Township of Wilmot and the GRCA make eliminating or mitigating the flooding problems of the Nith River a priority, that the Township, the GRCA and the Province work collaboratively to take action in finding solutions to this problem, and that the Township or the GRCA:
1) Apply for the five available grants we are aware of: the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF), the National Disaster Mitigation Program, the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians grant, the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance grant, and the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and any other available funding,
2) Initiate the necessary Environmental Assessment study of the Nith River that the GRCA requires in order to design and recommend practical solutions to this costly and dangerous problem.
Business owners and residents in downtown New Hamburg impacted by the recent flooding in February 2018 have formed a committee called the Nith Flooding Action Committee (NFAC). NFAC requests that the Township of Wilmot and the GRCA work collaboratively in exploring every possible available resource to prevent or at least mitigate future flooding.
Studies show that the levels and intensities of precipitation events and flooding will increase in the near future. During the February 2018 flooding the water peaked at 400 metres/second. Obviously, the river is dangerous and getting worse.
Flooding in downtown New Hamburg impacts the value of commercial and residential real estate, prevents new businesses from relocating to New Hamburg, creates financial hardship for uninsured businesses and residents, raises the costs of flooding insurance, and causes damage to public property such as the ball diamonds, benches, lamp posts and waterwheel.
After the flooding in 2008, residents demanded action. The GRCA said that the first step is an Environmental Assessment study and that the Township would need to help pay the cost. The Township said it is the GRCA’s responsibility to pay for it. There was a lot of back and forth but nothing happened. New Hamburg was left with our bandaid solution--the berm that partially encircles the downtown.
This berm was built in 1977 by the GRCA and is responsible to maintain it. Obviously, the berm is completely ineffective during a flood of the magnitude we just experienced.
We believe that it is the Township’s responsibility to protect the businesses from the threat of flooding using every possible means. And, since many of the homes in downtown New Hamburg are heritage buildings and the newer ones were built with Township-approved building permits, these homes are also the Township’s responsibility to protect.
1) Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF). This township is eligible for $500k+ but the township will not apply because Nith flooding controls are not the mandate of the township. The township says flooding is the mandate of the Province and GRCA. However, this grant can only be applied for by municipalities.
2) The National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP). The NDMP addresses rising flood risks and costs, and builds the foundation for informed mitigation investments that could reduce, or even negate, the effects of flood events. Essentially the township could receive this funding if they collaborate with the Province.
3) The Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. Applicants are eligible for up to $20 million but the township says it is not in its mandate. It's the GRCA's responsibility.
And there are two Ministry of Municipal Affairs grants:
4) Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance. This grant helps municipalities that have incurred extraordinary costs because of a natural disaster. The township has applied for this grant to pay for damage to public property as a result of the flood.
5) Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians. This parallel grant is designed to provide financial assistance to residents and small businesses in the aftermath of a natural disaster to pay for property damage after the flood. Residents in Wilmot township are not eligible because the township did not apply on our behalf.
And other funding may be available.
Sign this petition and help us show the Township of Wilmot and the GRCA that the businesses and residents of New Hamburg want them to take action in solving or at least mitigating this problem.
Thank you for your support!
The Nith Flooding Action Committee (NFAC)
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