Flooding that has damaged dozens of homes on the Toronto Islands and forced the suspension of ferry service for members of the public has cost the city nearly $5 million so far with the tally expected to go up further.
According to a report by the city’s general manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the flooding on the islands will cost the city about $4.88 million by the end of July, mostly due to lost ferry revenue and the cancellation of permits.
The report says that should the islands remain closed to the public through the end of August the cost resulting from reduced ferry ridership alone will be an additional $2.23 million.
The report also points out that “capital costs for remediation, mitigation and adaptation cannot be fully estimated at this time,” meaning that the total bill to taxpayers will likely rise further.
Since May, more than 45,000 sandbags, 1,000 meter bags and 27 industrial pumps have been deployed in an effort to protect homes and businesses but large parts of the sandbar have nonetheless been submerged.
“In the short term it (the flooding) has jeopardized people’s homes, closed beaches and park spaces and had a significant impact on businesses over there,” Mayor Tory said of the flooding during a news conference to discuss the city’s emergency preparedness efforts on Thursday. “There has been a cost already mainly through lost revenue of 5 million and in fact the cost going forward of actually reconstructing what has been damaged will be many millions more than that.”
Ferry service to the island has been limited to residents and essential personnel since the beginning of May.
The report found that as a result only 14,000 people rode the ferry in May, which was down from 140,000 in May of 2016.