Photo credit: City of Peterborough
For an increasing number of Canadians, the sound of rain outside the window isn’t just pleasant background noise or a reason not to go outside – it brings with it a feeling of dread. More and more of us know what it’s like for that rain to flow right into our homes and businesses, wreaking havoc.
As part of our collaborative to address urban flooding in Ontario, we’re reaching out and inviting Ontario residents and business owners to share their stories. Join our Facebook group, or share your story anonymously by commenting on this post or via our website. We’ll also be circulating a survey in the next few months to get more detailed information about people’s experiences.
2017 was a big year for flooding, and several large floods made the news (Ottawa, Montreal, Windsor, Toronto Island), forcing the issue into the mainstream. But flooding is happening all over our cities, often much less dramatically but nevertheless with huge negative consequences. Often it has nothing to do with rivers or lakes overflowing their banks. Even an inch of water in a basement can cost thousands of dollars to clean up, and for people living in basement apartments it can mean being forced out of their homes.
No one wants their home or neighbourhood to be known as a place that floods, which can prevent people from speaking out and coming together to demand action. Homeowners quietly try to solve their own problems in isolation, sometimes with incomplete information and little access to resources. Renters often have no option but to live with the damage (potentially exposing themselves to health problems due to exposure to sewage or mould growth) or face being without a place to live.
We’re not going to make progress in this way. Flooding is caused by a range of factors – increased runoff due to urbanization, aging municipal stormwater systems, drainage at the property level, more extreme rainfall due to climate change – and we all need to work together to solve it.
One thing we can do is try to take away the stigma of having had a flooded basement. We need people to speak up and share their stories so that we can know the extent of the problem and make a plan to take action.
So tell us about your experience. How did you get flooded? Has it happened more than once? What did you lose? Did you miss work or lose your job? Did you have to pay out of pocket or was it covered by insurance? How did you handle the cleanup? Did you do anything to try to solve the problem? Are you confident that you won’t be flooded again?