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Toronto ice storm to cost city up to $10 million, Ford seeks provincial aid

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Last week’s devastating ice storm is expected to cost the city of Toronto about $1 million per day to clean up and will leave a staggering $8 to $10 million economic impact for the rest of the municipality.

Mayor Rob Ford said this is an estimated but final projected tally. He told reporters Sunday that he will seek financial assistance through the province’s Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP). Anthony Haines, CEO of Toronto Hydro, noted that he would like to avoid passing the costs onto the customers as much as possible.

The $10 million figure is mostly related to hiring additional crews, paying overtime to city staff and purchasing materials.

“It is an awful lot of money,” said Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines at a press conference Sunday. “I would love to say that we can find it all in our budget and that there would be no impact on the customer. That would be my desire, but I can’t say that at this point.

“I can tell you we don’t have $10 million sitting around for this kind of thing,” added Haines at the news conference. “But that’s the challenge for the management team to make that happen.” However, Ford said he has great confidence that Toronto Hydro can make efficiencies.

If Toronto does receive the funds it could pay for the costs to cover damage to public infrastructure and buildings, pay for the additional money that the city has already spent and even help private citizens pay for food, shelter and essential clothing.

The mayor announced in a statement Sunday that he has requested a special city council meeting for Jan. 10 at 9:30 a.m. to officially request money from Queen’s Park.

Despite the questions concerning the financial end of the ice storm, the mayor’s primary objective for now is to restore power to every single household in the city. CBC News reports that about 725 customers are still without power, but that number has dramatically decreased from the estimated 300,000, which were initially left in the dark last week.

“I want to thank the residents of the city for their patience during this terrible storm,” Ford said. “We have never had a storm like this in Toronto’s history and hopefully we won’t have one like this again. It’s truly remarkable, what people have done in this city to help each other … sacrificing and giving up family time over the holidays."

Anyone who is still without power is urged to call Toronto Hydro immediately to make sure their residence is in the queue.

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