The damage to Toronto Island from last year’s flooding has left a deep financial impact on the city.
The usually bustling Island initially projected revenue loss of $4.9 million for its closure between May 4 and July 31, 2017, but a new report says that the cost of the flooding is closer to $8.45 million. The actual dollar amount depends on the total rent and licence fee abatements for tenants and licensees, according to the City.
Additionally, the city is proposing that rent or licence fee forgiveness for tenants and licensees affected by the rising lake levels.
In the report from the Parks Forestry and Recreation’s general manager, which goes to the executive committee next week, repairs and shoreline remediation work is said to cost $7.38 million.
And there’s more damage expected.
“With lake levels still 20 cm above the long term average, staff expect further damage may be seen, particularly at Toronto Island Park, through the winter freeze-thaw cycle,” reads the report. “Staff will provide updated repair estimates for the 2019 Capital Budget process and will report in the third quarter of 2018 on the cost of long-term repair and resilience measures.”
According to the report, preliminary estimates anticipate these long-term measures will cost at least $25 million over 10 years.
“The unprecedented flooding of spring 2017 has seen the water in Lake Ontario at its highest level ever recorded,” states the City report. “While impacts have been seen across the whole of the City of Toronto’s waterfront, the flood disproportionally affected Toronto Island Park, resulting in the closure of the park until the end of July.”
The city says that water levels still remain above historic averages, and “the impact of which through the winter season is still unknown.”
Last spring, Lake Ontario water levels began rising in April as snow melted and an exceptionally rainy spring hit the region. And on May 27th, lake levels reached their peak height of 75.93 metres above sea level (MASL), which is the highest water level ever recorded for Lake Ontario.