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City Council Briefing Note - January 9, 2014

briefing note            

  • Date: January 9, 2014    
  • To: Toronto City Councillors    
  • From: Franz Hartmann, Executive Director
  • Re: Impacts from the December 2013 Extreme Winter Storm Event on the City of Toronto

We urge City Councillors to adopt the following recommendation in addition to those in the City Manager’s report:

City Council request the City Manager to:

  • a.    direct staff to investigate best practices in other cities across the planet that have developed effective ways to deal with severe weather events, including heat waves, ice storms, floods and high winds;
  • b.    report to the Parks and Environment Committee no later than September 2014 with a list of actions that can be taken to enhance the resiliency of our infrastructure and services to extreme weather events;
  • c.    begin developing budgets for implementing these actions so that they can be incorporated into the 2015 budget process.

2013 was a year of weather disasters for Torontonians. Current estimates suggest it will cost us over $1 billion ($850 in insurance claims and at least $170 million to the city).  As I noted in an editorial posted on the Toronto Star website on Wednesday (see reverse), “…amid the pain and suffering, Mother Nature gave us a blessing in disguise: a peek into our future and a chance to change it.”

The City Manager’s recommendations focus mostly on dealing with the aftermath of the ice storm disaster and not enough on preparing the city to handle future severe weather events. It is like focusing on how to better treat people after they get the flu and doing little to help people avoid getting the flu. City Council must also consider how to prepare the city for future severe weather events, which climate scientists say will increase as the climate changes.

Download full briefing note below.


Franz Hartmann
Council Briefing Note for Special Council Meeting on January 10 2014.pdf447.2 KB