Nunziata gets an earful.

Councillor Frances Nunziata
Councillor Frances Nunziata speaks to residents affected by the flooding.

Close to 200 residents packed the York Civic Chamber Friday evening for an information session in the aftermath of the July 8th storm that hit Toronto. People impacted by basement flooding and sewer backups, especially in the Cordella Avenue area of York South-Weston are struggling to get their lives back to normal. Some are still without hot water and many have yet to receive a response from the city or their insurance companies. Ms Nunziata was flanked by a panel of city water engineers, claims adjusters and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. A representative from MPP Laura Albanese was also on the panel but didn’t participate. Toronto’s head of Stormwater Management, Ted Bowering began the evening with a talk that he had delivered many times before. Unfortunately the dry and glacially slow presentation outlining why peoples’ basements were flooded was not what residents were looking for. When Bowering estimated that a study of the local problem might be completed by March of 2014, the room erupted with anger. Many blamed the city for not fixing a problem that has been evident for years. Storm and sanitary sewers are combined in many areas and since there are fewer open spaces, rain is no longer absorbed by the ground. This causes sewage to regularly back up into basements. There is a downspout disconnection program that the city hopes will lead to less water in storm sewers but with smaller lots, downspouts simply drain onto pavement and into the sewers anyway. What is needed are larger, separated sewers so that storm water doesn’t get into and overwhelm sanitary sewers.

A TRCA representative talked about Black Creek and the channel, constructed in the 1960s that is now inadequate for the job, is poorly maintained and doesn’t drain floodwater off adjacent streets. Next, a City of Toronto insurance adjuster asked residents to submit claims to the city and they would be considered but several residents interrupted his presentation to indicate that the city had denied claims in the past and had invited them to sue if they didn’t like the answer.

As the meeting progressed, Ms. Nunziata was repeatedly shouted down by residents expressing anger that nothing is being done for them and the lack of response from the city. The last straw came when a representative from Mike Sullivan’s office took to the floor and tried to confront the councillor about a lack of support for infrastructure. Ms Nunziata walked off the podium and seemed to end the meeting leaving residents frustrated and bewildered. She eventually came back and resumed listening to residents but by that time, many had left. It is hoped that another meeting will be held that will have a more structured format so that all sides will be able to speak without interruption.

As for the solution to flooding, this will require an intelligent approach with upgraded sewers, holding tanks to store floodwater until it can be safely released but most of all, a commitment from councillors to implement a speedy solution that works and to find the money that will be necessary. With two major storms already this year, the next one may be just around the corner. Infrastructure maintenance and improvement isn’t sexy but when it’s neglected, the consequences cause a lot of suffering and unnecessary expense for residents and well-deserved political fallout for elected representatives.

A tearful resident confronts Councillor Nunziata at the end of the meeting.
A tearful resident confronts Councillor Nunziata at the end of the meeting.

8 thoughts on “Nunziata gets an earful.”

  1. a quick fix for the short term is for the city to clear up a bit of the red tape/process for a home owner to get a subsidy for a backflow preventer valve. the city should be more directly involved and actually do the install themselves with their own contracted staff. this will keep costs down and get the ball rolling for homeowners. this would be a solution for flooding victims that could be implemented very quickly and cheaply in the meantime, until the sewers are upgraded. the only problem is, once all those who were effected by flooding have a backflow preventer valve, the sewage will simply go to those nearby who don’t have such a valve installed. also, you’d see more sewers on the street pop their lids to relieve their pressure and the flood water may simply just come in from the street surface instead of the sewer pipe in your home. another thing to ponder is that connected downspouts may actually prevent your basement from flooding by sending pressure down your sewer pipe keeping water from flowing back from the street sewer line to some degree. this would all depend to the topography of your property, the flow from your roof and the elevation of the sewer line (it’s the pressure from your outflow vs. the pressure backing up from the street). but for most people, it is very unlikely that this would provide any benefit.

    if you’re a property owner and you want to protect your property as soon as possible, you best bet would be to get a backflow preventer valve installed professionally.

    here’s the actual $120 valve:

  2. Thanks for the helpful info and links, anon. You’re right about the red tape. I don’t understand why insurance companies don’t do more to help homeowners install these. You’d think it would help homeowners and save them money if they did this.

  3. Nunziata has done nothing in her 30 years. Time for her to get an early retirement. She just days after the flooding supported a subway that experts say is not needed in Scarbourgh.This for an extra 1 BILLION dollars.Why not vote against this subway and fight for money to fix the sewers in the area. why? because she is in the same corner as the Mayor who makes decisions stricly for political points and not for the residents. Need new blood in ward 11

  4. The level of commitment and care for constituents Nunziata showed by leaving a meeting where people were reasonably expressing their frustration is galling. This woman is on the gravy train big-time and she has the nerve to refuse to listen to her constituents at a meeting called to hear from us.

    The sewer back-up valve program is impossibly complicated and with support such as Nunziata shows for the real running of a city (as opposed to jumping on whatever voting-getting scheme the Mayor has concocted), we will never be safe from basement flooding, impossibly overcrowded buses and dirty air.

    This is not the behaviour of a responsible elected official.

  5. Typical nunziata, walk away when she hears the truth. Yet the good citizens continue to vote for her……….

  6. I hope Ward 11 is on notice about this useless councillor and the fake “peoples Mayor”
    Now the Mayor wants a football stadium. PRIORITYS. I hope people are active and involved to oust them both in 2014

  7. Thank you, Roy Murray! That unsurprisingly answers my question about how the meeting went, as I had to leave town that day. Putting all miserable facts about Councillor Frances Nunziata together (just Google her name and your eyes will pop up), there is one big conclusion: Nunziata is a disgrace to her constituents! This constituent group includes my family, whom she got unfairly punished time and time again, dragged us through the whole City hierarchy with hatred, lies and aggressive language simply for a much needed storage space in our own backyard (space that proved extremely helpful especially after the flood that ruined our basement, too). At the community meeting, she didn’t want to listen, she was there only to convince everyone to go against us shouting “it’s the by-law!!!” and left the meeting after less than 15 minutes, which finally enabled everyone to speak freely and in a civilized manner. At the Committee of Adjustment, she was the only one opposing us, while we had supporting neighbours who waited for over six hours to witness the circus Nunziata is capable of creating in an instant. Next, Nunziata even convinced the City to pay for a lawyer and a planning specialist big taxpayer money to fight us at the Ontario Municipal Board, where our truthful 10-minute speech, a few neighbourhood photos and approval signatures from the neighbours got us to finally win the battle with no lawyers and specialists representing us (they would have cost us close to 20K we were told, so go figure how much the City must have paid for its reps). When we bought our York property, it was a deserted place that hadn’t been taken care of for many years. The house was packed with junk in every room and needed immediate cleanup and renovation to save its inhabitable qualities. The backyard was a jungle swarming with raccoons and stray cats that found shelter under the deck and in the back shed that hadn’t been used for over two decades. The shed was falling apart under the weight of a huge rooted tree, whose trunk and crown had fallen on our backyard and our neighbour’s as well. Dozens of animal carcasses were everywhere. We have been wondering to this day how that environmental hazard located in a highly circulated area (Black Creek Drive and Weston Road) hadn’t been noticed by any local authority such as ‘whistleblower’ (as she likes to call herself) Frances Nunziata or reported by ‘concerned’ neighbours whom she loves to keep close. But after our endless months of hard work, when everything was renovated, clean and tidy, and the neighbours started following suit, there she was taking credit for things she hadn’t done. I have no respect for this kind!

    The roads are horrible. The sewer system is big trouble. Black Creek at Humber Blvd is still untouched after the big July 8th flood. So is the small bridge to the Archb. Romero High School which is boarded, full of tree trunks and debris. And the list goes on! This is Councillor Frances Nunziata’s vision of her Ward!

    I strongly support the idea of having Rob-Ford-avid-supporter-and-Casino-friendly Frances Nunziata out of the political game as soon as possible and for good. York (Ward 11) residents, we deserve a real Councillor who can responsibly help us in times like these (and any times for that matter), with the real problems we are facing, not an accounting clerk whose huge ambition and influential brother introduced her into politics. Frances Nunziata is a disrespectful old lady who only spends taxpayer time and money trying hard (at no avail) to look good in sneery inaugural photos and being nice around people when election time approaches ( Time for a major cleanup, York (Ward 11)! Let’s start with Frances Nunziata!

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