City will shell out $600k to help retrofit flood-prone homes

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Basement flood

CORNWALL, Ontario - Cornwall residents who have seen their homes flooded during powerful rain events will soon be able to access a slew of rebates being offered by city hall to offset the costs of retrofitting their homes.

City hall will cover up to $3,600 of approved costs for doing things like installing backwater valves, grading improvements and disconnection of downspouts that are running ino the storm sewer.

The city has a limit that it will spend on each case, and residents must apply for each subsidy and be approved. 

The eligibility for funding will be prioritized to those homeowners who have incurred and reported flooding in 2010 and/or 2013 when a pair of storms drenched Cornwall.

Applicants' municipal taxes must be current and a building/plumbing permit, where applicable, must be taken out.

For those eligible, the rebate will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The city faced a tidal wave of criticism from residents who felt that municipal infrastructure is insufficient in some neighbourhoods in draining storm runoff away from homes.

"We know there's a problem, and we know residents have been more than patient," said Coun. Maurice Dupelle.

But the program likely won;t address every flooding problem - and won;t last forever.

"Not all of these solutions will fit every home or every circumstance," said John St. Marseille, the city's infrastructure manager. "We have a finite budget in this program - so we want to make sure we can reach out to as many people as possible."

The city has set aside $600,000 for the rebate program.

It's expected city council will approve the program within a couple of months.

But new homes being built won't be eligible.

"If you're building a new house you can't take advantage of this," said Coun. Denis Carr.

A public meeting will take place March 26 at the Benson Centre to educate residents who have questions about the program.

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario

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