QUEEN’S PARK – Today Essex MPP Taras Natyshak will introduce a Private Members Bill aimed at helping Windsor and Essex families deal with repeated severe flooding in the area. The bill will stop flood victims from being penalized by insurance companies, expand the Disaster Recovery Assistance Program and suggest a new way to mitigate the impact of severe rain events by encouraging the installation of rain barrels at people’s homes.
Natyshak worked with students from the robotics team at Holy Names Catholic School in Essex on the proposal to enact provisions in the Ontario Building Code that would require new residential buildings to be built with rain barrels connected via downspout. The students have been studying the issue of managing the increasing amount of rainfall in their community.
“These kids are so bright. They are creative and eager to learn and share their ideas,” said Natyshak. “I was blown away by their diligent research and have incorporated the rain barrels into the legislation I’m proposing to help families mitigate the damage that severe flooding has done to homes in this area in the past few years.”
Holy Names robotics coach Mike Lamoureux said Natyshak has shown the kids that a good idea can come from anywhere.
“I’m so proud of this team and all of their accomplishments and I am particularly proud of them for engaging in the political process in order to change the world they live in. The entire robotics team would like to extend our thanks to Mr. Natyshak for taking the time to meet with the team and for putting their idea into his bill” said Lamoureux.
There is evidence that rain barrels can be an effective option. In Wingham, 1,000 barrels were distributed and with a 58 per cent participation rate, the community saw a 5 per cent reduction in rain water processed by the municipality’s storm water management system. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has also conducted two pilot studies on rain barrels; one in Stratford, PEI looked at the use of downspout-connected rain barrels in response to increased claims from extreme weather events and found damages to homes was significantly lessened.
Natyshak’s Bill amends three acts to further protect victims of flooding: the Insurance Act, Building Code Act 1992 and Municipal Affairs Act.
“It’s clear to me that people in this region are suffering as a result of climate change,” said Natyshak. “The amount of rainfall in the past few years has meant that more and more families have been forced to complete expensive repairs – and also that insurance companies are looking for new and creative ways to deny claims. This bill deals with that.”