The flood damage to Toronto Island is leaving a deep financial impact on the city.
The usually bustling Island has a projected revenue loss of $4.9 million for its closure between May 4 and July 31, according to the City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation department.
In the report, which is heading to City Council on July 4, a further $2.230 million is estimated as revenue loss if the Island remains closed through to the end of August.
Water levels in lake Ontario are at their highest in more than 100 years, according to City staff. While water levels are receding, the city expects that they will not return to pre-flood levels until well into the summer.
“The effect of this flooding has been felt along the entire length of Toronto’s waterfront, and particularly at Toronto Island Park where over 800 residents, almost 30 businesses, and two schools have been forced to adapt to rising waters,” reads the report. “Many waterfront parks in Toronto have suffered significant shoreline erosion, damage and debris accumulation over the past few months.”
And while the waters are receding, city staff continuously monitor the levels and are beginning to plan the re-opening of sections of the Island Park. But it is likely that some portions of the park will remain closed to the public for the entire summer, according to the report.
In the spring, the city cancelled all permits at Toronto Island Park until the end of July. Staff say that approximately 50% of special event permits to the end of June have been relocated, while others that cannot be relocated have been refunded.
While this is an initial financial assessment, a more comprehensive impact to the operating budget will be brought forward in November, states the report. The city says that the long term impact will take “months to quantify and potentially years to remediate” and a full asset evaluation will take place when the ground water recedes.