Question Period Note: Storm recovery in the national capital region

About

Reference number:
PSPC-2022-QP-00029
Date received:
Jun 7, 2022
Organization:
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Name of Minister:
Tassi, Filomena (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Issue/Question:

On May 21st, 2022, a derecho storm caused widespread damage across the National Capital Region, as well as other areas of Ontario, Quebec, and Maine.

Suggested Response:

  • The National Capital Commission is committed to communicating with the public as it works to address widespread damage and restore access to outdoor spaces across the region
    • National Capital Commission personnel and contractors continue to work intensely, in collaboration with local governments, service providers, and specialized contractors, to evaluate and respond to storm damage on National Capital Commission lands
    • Given the severity of this weather system, storm recovery efforts, including clean up and repairs in Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt, are expected to proceed over the next several months

If pressed on associated costs:

  • The National Capital Commission is in the process of assessing the full scope of work required, as well as identifying and securing the services of specialized contractors

Background:

The storm system’s severe winds resulted in falling trees, branches, and other debris that caused considerable damage across the National Capital Region (NCR). In fact, given the widespread regional impacts, damage from this storm is considered in some ways to be more substantial than the 1998 ice storm or the tornadoes that affected the NCR in 2018.

NCC Portfolio of Assets in Quebec

Many trees have toppled or damaged NCC properties in Quebec. Fortunately, there has been minimal damage to built assets, and roads and priority pathways have been cleared. With regards to Gatineau Park, a few trails remain closed but the majority are open to the public, including Champlain, Pink Lake, and Waterfall. Additionally, all day shelters and picnic areas have been inspected and are open.

NCC Portfolio of Assets in Ontario

NCC properties in Ontario, many of which are in the Greenbelt, have experienced considerable damage from the storm that will be costly to repair. The following sites are closed until further notice: McCarthy Woods; Mer Bleue sector; Green’s Creek sector; Pine Grove sector; Southern Farm; Pinhey Forest sector; and Stony Swamp sector. Additionally, two off-leash dog parks – Conroy Pit and Bruce Pit – remain closed, and the NCC continues to work with the City of Ottawa to assess the best way forward.

NCC Real Estate Portfolio

As of May 30, 2022, the NCC has received more than 100 calls for service related to properties leased to residential and agricultural tenants. Multiple silos and barns were damaged, as well as roofs, doors, chimneys, and walls of buildings either damaged or removed by the storm’s high winds. This includes 3 silos at the former Greenbelt Research Farm, one of which was carried by the storm and deposited on a major arterial road more than a kilometre from its foundation.

Trees and branches also fell on buildings and damaged power lines. As a result of prolonged disruptions of electricity service across the region, several of the NCC’s leased buildings served by sump pumps experienced flooding.

The NCC is working diligently with tenants, local governments, service providers, and specialized contractors (e.g., engineers, electricians, arborists) to resolve the issues affecting its leased properties. In some cases, the corporation is implementing temporary measures while working on permanent solutions (e.g., using gas generators to power sump pumps and other critical systems, while working to restore power lines).

Additional Information:

None

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