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Ottawa mayor to again request provincial disaster relief for residents following May storm

The initial request was put forward in June, but the City of Ottawa has yet to receive any response from the Ontario government.
2022-05-29 ottawa storm 1
Damage at a home in the city's south end following the derecho storm on Saturday, May 21, 2022. File photo

Mayor Jim Watson will be writing to the Ontario government to once again request that Ottawa be designated as an area affected by a natural disaster following the May long weekend storm in order to unlock relief for residents.

The initial request for the designation, which is necessary to access the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) program, was approved by council in June, but Ottawa has yet to receive a response from the province.

The provincial disaster relief program would allow residents, small businesses, farms, and non-profit organizations to submit claims for financial help for expenses such as essential repairs and evacuation travel, in connection to the storm.

The request for Watson to make the request for the second time but put forward in a motion by Cumberland Coun. Catherine Kitts, and was approved by council on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

She felt a sense of déjà vu, since she put forward the initial motion back in June.

"I have been incredibly frustrated and disappointed with the lack of response from the province, and why they have not activated this program for residents of our city," Kitts said during the latest council meeting.

Mayor Watson is frustrated by the lack of response from the province, and will continue to advocate for the support.

"I'm not one to give up -- we'll continue to make our case to local MPPs, as well as to the Premier and the Premier's office because this is an important issue," Watson told reporters following council. "This is affecting literally hundreds of homeowners, and farmers, and small business people."

Watson will also be extending an invite to Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clarke to visit the parts of Ottawa most affected by the storm.

Meanwhile, Watson said in May that the provincial government would cover the City of Ottawa's storm clean up costs, but support was not being extended to individuals.

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