City waives fees for residents rebuilding after tornadoes

Canadian news headlines

Ottawa city council has unanimously voted to waive various fees for residents whose homes were ravaged by the tornadoes that tore through the Ottawa area last Friday.

Although there were no fatalities and relatively few injuries, dozens of families lost everything and will need to rebuild.

Mayor Jim Watson told council 30 homes were flattened in Dunrobin, while another 20 are seriously damaged. Another 50 homes have been deemed unsafe in the Craig Henry and Arlington Woods areas.

Council agreed to waive demolition and building permit fees for residents of those neighbourhoods, as well as other costs related to home construction such as sewer disconnection and property record access fees.

Coun. Diane Deans, who represents Gloucester-Southgate, convinced her colleagues to include the Greenboro community in the exemptions “because they are feeling a little forgotten.” 

Standing ovation

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, whose ward includes the hard-hit Dunrobin area, told council residents there were so grateful for the help they received from first responders and other city workers that they gave them a standing ovation after a community dinner on Tuesday night.

“These are people who’ve lost their home,” an emotional El-Chantiry said.

He urged the city to continue helping those residents as they rebuild their lives.

“What we heard from residents is that we need the process to be expedited,” El-Chantiry said. “That’s where we need the help.”

Watson began Wednesday morning’s council meeting by thanking first responders, businesses and residents who helped each other during the emergency.

“This is why I am so proud to be mayor of this city,” Watson said. He also urged people to donate to the Red Cross and local food banks.

 



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