Thursday, June 19th Commentary
Some 3-hundred residents of Angus awaken to a second morning not knowing when they'll be getting back into their homes...houses torn apart by Tuesday afternoon's tornado.
About a hundred houses are temporarily deemed to be uninhabitable simply because building inspectors and structural engineers have not yet had the opportunity to inspect those houses to see if they are safe. Once that determination is made, insurance company adjusters will be brought in to assess the dollar value of the damage and then a claims adjuster will say yes or no to the claim and authorize a cheque...or not.
It is a frustrating process for some of the people affected and Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall understands that.
“We are doing the best that we can do for these residents. Our goal is the same as theirs and hopefully they realize that.”
Last evening, OPP Inspector Dick Cockburn made it clear that his officers are protecting these homes against anyone trying to loot.
A suggestion for officials in Angus, history has demonstrated repeatedly that the weakest link in any emergency recovery operation is communication so pay close attention to keeping the locals updated and if you don't have an answer to their question, say so, then commit to getting the answer and make sure you actually do get it and let them know.
A communication fail was cited by an independent panel examining how Toronto Hydro handled the ice-storm just before Christmas. Hydro was simply overwhelmed....people couldn't get through for days....This was a major event so in all likelihood double or triple the staff would have done much good but there are some ideas in there to improve things and Anthony Haines the CEO seems committed to taking action.
The other big flaw uncovered...a staggering number of high-rise residential buildings in this city have no backup power supply beyond the emergency stairwell lights that might stay on for a few hours. The panel says the Ontario Building Code should be changed requiring all of these buildings to have backup power so that if people are trapped in their units they'd be able to cook and bathe, to have fresh drinking water...lights...and that their home phones would work.
You'll recall the desperate situation a number of people were in...unable to get out of their units. Scores of police went from one public housing unit to another to help people down the stairwells. The idea that Toronto public housing would shell out millions for backup power systems....seems to be a pipe dream. The city is already billions behind in repair work, let alone improvement and I’m sure private landlords will kick up a fuss about the cost of such an upgrade.
So much for Tim Hudak's promise to stay on as leader of the Ontario PC's until a successor is chosen.
Now he says he's quitting as leader July 2nd...13 days from now, meaning the party will have to name an interim leader and then work on a leadership convention.
For a lot of Tories...it's good bye and good riddance Tim....you tanked us two elections in a row...don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out.