For Immediate Release

March 1st, 2017

Statement by Mayor Crombie: Mississauga Council Supports Grant for Displaced Hickory Drive Residents

The following is a statement by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie following Mississauga Council’s decision at today’s General Committee meeting to offer a grant to cover the City’s portion of property taxes for those residents displaced by the Hickory Drive explosion that took place in June 2016.

“We did what was right.  I’m proud of my Council for their compassion during what is truly an extraordinary situation,” Mayor Crombie added.

At today’s General Committee meeting, Mayor Crombie and Mississauga Councillors supported a motion put forward by Councillor Chris Fonseca to provide a grant to residents of Hickory Drive equivalent to the property taxes they have paid while they have been displaced from their homes through no fault of their own as a result of the June 2016 explosion.

“After listening to Council, in particular the heartfelt plea of Councillor Fonseca, I voted in favour of the grant to recognize the extra-ordinary nature of this event.”

Mayor Crombie emphasized that while Council recognized the extraordinary circumstances of the Hickory Drive incident, an appropriate framework would have to be put in place for future disasters.

“This is unprecedented and while we recognized this situation, I do not want to open ourselves up for future issues that may occur such as fires, floods, etc., without a proper procedure in place,” Mayor Crombie said.

“As such, I think it’s important that we take care to ensure that there is a process in place to deal with similar situations in the future.  We need to make sure that we are protecting our residents’ tax dollars while adequately supporting residents in extraordinary situations such as this one,” Mayor Crombie added.

Mayor Crombie and Councillors further called on the provincial government to take action so that the burden does not continue to fall on the City. This includes waiving the provincial portion of the property tax collected.

“To date, Mississauga is the only level of government to step up and support the residents impacted by the Hickory Drive explosion,” Mayor Crombie added.

Below is a list of some of what the City of Mississauga has done to date to provide much needed relief to families:

  • According to tax adjustment statements, the city has provided a total of $23,279 in relief for 26 homes, ranging from $246 to $1,728. Council has also waived the 1.25 per cent late payment charges for displaced residents and the $15 tax appeal application fee.
  • Emergency accommodations were made available anyone impacted by the June 28 incident in Mississauga.
  • Mississauga Board of Trade extended the use of its board room and meeting room facilities to those businesses impacted by the explosion.
  • The process of obtaining building permits was expedited for Hickory Drive residents. 29 addresses still have building code orders that prohibit occupancy. The degree of work varies from smaller scale repairs to full rebuilds.
  • United Way established a fund to assist impacted residents. 3-1-1 and MFES set up a mobile unit on site for at least a week after the explosion to assist residents with any questions. Residents were exempt from late penalties and interest from 2016 tax deadline.
  • Community Information Centre was immediately set up at the Burnhampthorpe Community Centre. Services onsite included: Region of Peel Social Services, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Insurance Bureau of Canada
  • Region of Peel offered emergency accommodation, Peel Crisis support mobile team was on site and available for support.
    • Every property is valued differently and needs to go through a reassessment conducted by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
  • Council waived late payment charges for displaced residents during their displacement period. Council also waived the tax appeal application fee.
  • Our tax staff communicates with residents on an ongoing basis about their property taxes and available tax relief.
  • Information has been provided on the appeal process. Staff have assisted residents in completing applications.
  • Applications have been expedited through MPAC with nearly all tax appeals for the 2016 tax year already having been processed through Council.
  • Staff is working with those residents that continue to be displaced to ensure tax appeal applications are submitted for the 2017 tax year.
  • Staff continues to be in regular communication with the Hickory residents regard their property taxes.

“We continue to work with impacted property owners, their insurance companies, utilities and partner agencies to help the community on the road to recovery. I want to acknowledge all those who continue to work to support those impacted families in need of care and support,” Mayor Crombie concluded.