Local flood protection pegged at $40 million
Groups worry Thornhill may have to pay the bill without city help
Ricardo Mashregi and Marilyn Ginsburg recall floods in their neighbourhood
The City of Markham may ask Thornhill residents to pay most or all of the $40 million needed to upgrade the neighbourhood’s storm water flood protection systems, leaving local groups concerned.
A funding report, revealed last month in a committee meeting, proposed three options for funding a $155 million initiative to upgrade Markham’s flood protection. One option may have Thornhill pay its $40 million portion alone through local levies. A second suggests the city cover 26 per cent of the cost, whereas another proposes a general city-wide tax hike.
Though the options are not binding, local Ward 2 councillor Howard Shore is already voicing his opposition to singling out Thornhill residents. “I can fix my roof, but I can’t fix the sewers under my house,” he said. “Those are the responsibility of the city, not the homeowners of Ladyslipper Court and German Mills Road.”
Alena Gotz, a spokesperson for the Aileen-Willowbrook Ratepayers Organization, suggested Thornhill’s situation is the result of long-time neglect by the city.
“Markham has no plans for Thornhill except to spend taxes paid by Thornhill elsewhere in Markham, while dirty industry and bursting sewers are causing stagnation here,” she wrote in an e-mail. According to the report, Thornhill’s storm protection is at pre-1978 standards, although much of Markham has since built modern systems.
“We have pictures of people walking in rubber boots and raw sewage.”
President Ricardo Mashregi and past co-chair Marilyn Ginsburg of the Grandview Area Residents Association are working with other local groups, including one representing hard-hit Bayview Glen, to add their input to the final version of the report, which was recently deferred from being sent to Markham City Council. Both live on Almond Avenue and hope that the flooding that neighbours have experienced can one day be prevented.
“We still have pictures of people’s basements and them walking around in rubber boots and raw sewage,” said Ginsburg.
The final funding report will be received at council in the next few months, and public consultations are expected to begin shortly thereafter.