Brantford City council is reviewing emergency preparedness and trying to improve for the future.
At the committee of the whole operations and administration meeting on May 15 council discussed a report from City staff that included a detailed analysis of the Grand River flood that effected Eagle Place and Homedale.
“First and foremost, life safety was our number one priority so we are extremely grateful that a majority of residents in the impacted area heeded the warning to evacuate and there were no reported casualties or injuries related to the event,” the city’s chief administrative officer (CAO), Darryl Lee said.
The February 21 flood caused evacuations and significant damage to the city’s infrastructure. Those damages, and how city staff is working with the Grand River Conservation Authority to strengthen the operation and maintenance of the Flood Control Works system in Brantford are also under review.
“I’m very proud of how City staff along with our community partners responded expediently to the event, demonstrating compassion, dedication and professionalism throughout,” Lee said.
The report revealed through post inspections that there is significant damage to several trails and tree canopy in the Gilkison Flats and east of the Grand River, from Lorne Bridge south to Brant’s Crossing, that staff needs specialized equipment to fix.
Mechanical systems for aquatic features and concession equipment, pool and domestic boilers and the grounds at Earl Haig Family Fun Park were damaged.
The city is left with an estimated cost $4.5 million.
The City plans to apply for the Municipal Disaster Recovery Assistance Program (MDRA) for costs for responding to the emergency as well as restoring and repairing City assets like roads, bridges, culverts, storm sewers and trails to pre-disaster conditions.
Among the recommendations to improve for the future is communication between teams members and the community.
Ward 1 coun. Rick Weaver, who posted live video and written updates on Facebook throughout the event said he was shocked at how many people found the updates helpful.
“I remember during the August 2004 blackout that I really had no idea what was going on and that I really had a thirst for information. I really felt compelled to try and help fill the gap of information,” he said.
“Not everyone has cable (I don’t) and the city has to currently rely on external news agencies to help us get the word out. I decided to use the technology available. That first press conference was the first time I used Facebook live for anything other then showing friends the music concert I was at. I had no idea it was going to be viewed so many times. The last time I checked the total on all the videos I did during the flood had over 70,000 views. And it obviously caught on because by the last news conference the city had a staff member also live streaming the news conference.”
The city also hopes to implement a more comprehensive evacuation zone and security plan.
“I thought the city staff from all departments pulled together to provide the absolute best service a city can under those circumstances. Most won’t know that some staff worked all night, changed their shifts to accommodate coverage in the shelters, went door to door to warn residents. I’m very proud of the work staff did,” Weaver said.
The GRCA issued a flood warning due to an ice jam release in Cambridge and the city convened its Emergency Operations Centre in the early morning hours to respond to the threat to public safety.
The city declared a state of emergency at 10:30 a.m. on February 21 and it stayed in effect until 1:50 p.m. on February 26.
For a detailed list of expenditures and recommendations visit