Deseronto investigates disaster relief following flood

Adam Bramburger
Beaver Staff

A torrential downpour Friday night meant flooded basements for dozens of Deseronto households and prompted the town to inquire about disaster relief from the province.

Mayor Norm Clark said a storm passed through at about 8:20 that night with about 45 minutes of really heavy rain falling from the sky. He said he was headed to Napanee from an all-candidates’ meeting on the Tyendinaga territory and could barely see the road ahead of him — yet, the storm was so isolated that when he got past Deseronto Road it wasn’t raining and the roads were dry.

“We had a tremendous amount of flooding — our own place was flooded as well and we’re still trying to recover,” Clark said. “I don’t know how many houses but I know on Dundas Street, College Street and Pearl Street just about every house was flooded… Quite a few houses along the water were really flooded and had sewage backup as well. As long as I’ve lived in Deseronto, I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

Clark said Main Street was also shut down at one point as it was covered in water.

Clark said he had Belleville-based Malcolm Brothers emergency insurance restoration trucks at several houses over the weekend. He also saw plumbing trucks in several driveways.

“They did good business this weekend,” Clark said.

An HVAC technician responding to one request for service Monday at a Dundas Street home told a homeowner his whole day was reserved for resetting hot water tanks and systems in town that had been disrupted by the flooding.

At his own home, Clark said he had water that was about six-seven inches deep in the basement and he estimates about 80 per cent of the furniture and carpeting was ruined. Looking at the hoses used to get water out, he said he has an appreciation for people in areas elsewhere in Canada and the United States that deal with flooding regularly.

The mayor said first thing Saturday morning, the town contacted the province about Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO)  funding that might help residents with their clean-up efforts. By Monday, the town had circulated a letter via social media informing those who have experienced flooding to contact Town Hall to provide contact information and a brief description of the damages. The town can be reached at 613-396-2440 or it will share information it receives about possible funding.

Clark said residents should look to their own insurance providers first.

“We’ve contacted the government now, but as far as I know, you have to contact your insurance company and they should cover it. If they don’t cover it, there’s an agency in the government that is going to check the funding situation,” he said. “There’s not a guarantee the government will pay for it, but the application could be made.”

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing web site suggests the DRAO was designed to provide financial assistance in the aftermath of a natural disaster that causes costly, widespread damage to eligible private property.  Once activated by the minister, property owners and tenants in the affected area can apply to be reimbursed for basic, essential costs related to the disaster. It also specifies the program does not provide assistance for costs covered by insurance.

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