Ladies and Gentlemen,
Well, what seems to have been a generous 5 million dollar donation from Dalton McGuinty ends up falling short by about…70 million. The total estimated damage caused by the tornado that hit the town of Goderich on August 21, has been estimated at 75 million dollars. This is a recovery process that will take some time!
Many weeks after the tornado hit the town of Goderich, Linette and I, set out for a drive to attest to the destruction that materialized from the tornado. Bearing witness to the violence and assassination on the buildings and homes instigated by the storm (click here for photos), I started interrogating the locals as to just how far 5 million dollars would help them in restoring their town. Mike, a volunteer for the Knights of Columbus, spoke to me about the competency and the inadequacy that had occurred over the first few weeks after the tornado hit Goderich.
Minutes after the storm, the Knights of Columbus had gathered in a volunteer effort to better understand what they would be up against the following morning. Within their preparations was a map that included the direct path, the width and how long the tornado had travelled, what homes and businesses it had hit, along with roads that were deemed unsafe. This expert effort was only to be strangled the following morning with red tape and official-ism. The next day, the private contractors clocked-in with preparation to clear out the wreck. Unbeknownst to anybody, the town of Goderich impeded their progress, due to worries of asbestos, gas leaks and other environmental concerns. The contractors spent the week to come sitting on their cranes, bulldozers, and other construction vehicles, waiting for consent by the town to continue with their duties. Mike commented that he “saw a guy sitting across the street from the pub for 2-3 days and did not move.” Speculation has it that, by the first week of restoration, the town had paid out the 5 million dollars given by Dalton McGuinty to idle contractors.
Things might have fallen into the hands of town volunteers, but because most were not licensed to operate chainsaws, or other machinery, they were unable to assist in rescuing their own roads. The massive list of volunteers that registered through the Knights of Columbus could not be initiated and they were left to watch the ruins alongside their neighbors, due to liability reasons. They mostly banded together to lift one another’s spirits. The outside volunteers with proper licences, who tried to enter Goderich in that first week, were turned away by police as a result of power lines and trees blocking the roads and leaving them unsafe. With check points all around town stopping people from entering the town, and volunteers unable to contribute, it seemed that money was going to be sourced out to idle private contractors, one way or another.
These days, the matter of insurance is a mighty discourse around the town of Goderich. Most worry that their respected companies might not cover all the damage caused by the tornado. Some have already gone so far as to surrender their mortgages because of foreseen future financial instabilities concerning their personally owned business and their insurance companies. Others simply will not have the opportunity to rebuild, while others have taken this tragedy into retirement. But for the moment, it is for certain, that all are discussing the future of their once charming town.
Fortunately there is a fund where you can donate, until December 1st,, to help the citizens of Goderich rebuild, restore, and renew one of Canada’s prettiest towns. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like to make a financial donation to the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Fund, you can do so by mailing or delivering your cheque to:
Disaster Relief Fund
Goderich Town Hall
57 West Street
Goderich, Ontario N7A 2K5
Remember to make cheques payable to: Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Fund and to include your name and mailing address with your cheque for tax purposes.
Thank- you for all your support.