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Merry Christmas and tonight's Ice Storm Recovery update

Dear residents,

 

Like many of you, our family has been without power at our home for the past three days. In fact, hundreds of thousands of Torontonians have had either difficult experiences, or even seen their holidays ruined, due to the aftermath of the ice storm. In some cases, circumstances were even more dire.

 

While I've been working day and night to respond to, and assist, members of our community here in Ward 22, I've heard heartbreaking stories and have witnessed great acts of kindness by neighbours who care about each other. It's that very spirit of community that makes us appreciate living in midtown and North Toronto. This is why Melissa and I are raising our daughter Molly here.

 

To those of you who are still waiting for power to be restored to your home, Toronto Hydro has not been able to provide us a schedule of when they will be able to repair specific streets. I know this is the most important piece of information you want. However, I am pleased to report to you that I am learning of several streets regaining power in our community on nearly an hourly basis. To everyone who has their electricity restored, I am so happy for you! And to those still waiting, I am now cautiously optimistic that our wait may indeed be over soon.

 

I wish everyone of you who are celebrating this evening, whether at your warm home or while taking refuge with family and friends, a very Merry Christmas.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

Here's some more useful information from the City of Toronto, Toronto Hydro, and Enbridge. I recognize that I'm providing you with a lot of information. However, I'd rather send you too much tonight than not offer it to you at all.


Please stay safe and warm!


Power outages
Toronto Hydro crews have been and will continue to  be working around the clock to respond to streets with power outages. They say they cannot provide updates on specific neighbourhoods or streets. The utility hopes to have power restored by Wednesday. Call Toronto Hydro's Lights Out number, 416-542-8000, for serious situations only.

 

Emergencies
The City's emergency services (Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Police) are operating and managing increased call volumes. Residents are reminded to only call 911 in the event of an emergency. The non-emergency number for Toronto Police Service is 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.



TTC
The TTC has made progress restoring system service, with streetcar service resuming on all routes. Please check www.ttc.ca for updates and service alerts.

 

Downed wires
If you spot a downed wire, please stay back (at least 10 feet) and
report it to Toronto Hydro's operations centre at 416-542-8000. Please
be cautious of falling tree limbs as well. For more information about
household items to have on hand during a lengthy outage, please visit
torontohydro.com/poweroutage

 

Tree Debris
We anticipate that the clearing of fallen trees and tree debris will begin on December 27 on City roadways. Staff are currently pushing tree debris to the side of the roads to make them safe and passable. The priority is to ensure public safety. Where debris is not obstructing the road, cleanup will take place at a later date. Clearing of all tree debris will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks.



If debris is from trees on private property, homeowners should contact a private contractor to clear away.

 

Parks, Forestry and Recreation
The public is reminded that trees remain covered in ice, which means that parks (anywhere near trees) are very dangerous, particularly in wooded valleys, near slopes and under trees. Park pathways have not been cleared and should not be used. Playgrounds near trees should also be avoided due to falling branches. Public should use extreme caution around parks to prevent slips and falls and should avoid walking under or near trees.
Parks staff who have appropriate chainsaw training and equipment are being deployed to assist in clearing tree debris from roads and paths.



Parks crews will continue to salt and clear debris, focusing on Reception Centres, Community Recreation Centres, parking lots and well-used locations such as rinks.



Holiday Waste Pickup
Residents are reminded that there is no collection on Christmas Day or New Year's Day.  This week and next week, curbside collection on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will move forward one day. This means that Wednesday collection moves to Thursday, Thursday collection moves to Friday, and Friday collection moves to Saturday. Changes are reflected in the residential collection calendar.  Due to downed trees and hydro wires, collection vehicles are not able to reach some areas. There may also be delays.  Residents should leave out their materials until they are collected. If required, additional collection crews will work on Monday (not a regularly scheduled collection day).



Food Waste
If you have organic material (food waste) that cannot fit in the Green Bin, please set it out in a clear plastic bag. Food waste will be collected on your regularly scheduled collection day.



Preventing Frozen Pipes
If you don't have heat for your home and the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water so there is some movement of water in pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.



If you are leaving your home because of no heat, you can shut off the main service valve in your basement and open your lowest tap to drain the water out of your plumbing lines to prevent them from freezing.



Food Safety
For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health/food_safety and click on the power outages link on the bottom of the page.



Emergency Preparedness
Information and advice about emergency preparedness are available at http://www.toronto.ca/oem.

 

Call Enbridge Gas Distribution only if you smell gas or to report an emergency such as a damaged pipe or meter

·         Due to a high volume of calls and poor road conditions in the GTA, the natural gas utility is currently only responding to natural gas emergency calls.

·         If a customer has an emergency such as the smell of gas or is reporting a pipeline or meter damage (including by falling trees or branches) they should call Enbridge Gas Distribution’s emergency line at 1-866-763-5427 from a neighbour’s phone.

·         Customers should not attempt to fix any problems related to the disruption of their supply of natural gas.

 

Call 911 if you or someone in your family is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO)

·         If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, open windows and doors to let fresh air in. If anyone in your household has symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure, leave your house immediately, seek medical help and call 911.

·         Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, burning eyes, confusion, disorientation and unconsciousness. In severe cases, prolonged exposure to CO poisoning could result in death.

·         Customers should not attempt to fix any problems related to the disruption of their supply of natural gas.

 

Relighting natural gas equipment following power outage

·         Enbridge Gas Distribution’s natural gas system continues to operate normally during the winter storm however some natural gas appliances including furnaces require power to operate.

·         If a customer does not have heat due to a power outage or requires natural gas appliances to be relit after power is restored, they should contact a heating contractor. If a customer does not have one, they can find service providers online at www.enbridgegas.com/homes/customer-service/need-contractor.

 

Customers without heat due to power outage

·         Customers in Toronto can visit www.toronto.ca for more information or contact their local municipality or electricity utility.

·         Do not use equipment designed for outdoor use such as barbecues (including natural gas, propane or charcoal burning models) and gasoline powered generators indoors.

·         Do not use appliances such as stoves to heat your home.

·         Please ensure appliance vents and your meter/regulator are free of snow and ice.

 

Keep natural gas meter and appliance vents clear of snow, ice

·         Frequently check for any icy build-up from melting snow from your roof, drifting snow, freezing rain or water leaking from an eavestrough. This build-up could interrupt your gas service or cause an appliance to malfunction, which may create a hazardous condition.

·         Never pile snow against gas equipment or appliance vents.

·         If a meter, regulator or external vents are covered with snow or ice, remove the snow or ice carefully with either a car brush or broom. Do not use sharp objects or force, such as kicking or hitting, or hot water, salt or other melting methods to remove the snow or ice as this may cause damage. Be careful when using a shovel, plow or snow blower near gas equipment or appliance vents.

·         If snow or ice build-up on natural gas meters or regulators cannot be gently removed with a broom or car brush, call Enbridge Gas Distribution for assistance at 1-877-ENBRIDGE (362-7434).

·         If you need assistance to clear a blocked appliance vent, please contact a heating contractor.

 

 

My letter to residents on December 23th:


The recent ice storm has had a horrible affect on midtown Toronto along with neighbourhoods across the city. On many of our local streets, there are wires dangling, trees down or hanging on power lines, and icy conditions. There are entire neighbourhoods without power. My home, like many of yours, is still affected by the blackout. I've been out to streets across Ward 22 and have seen the damage the storm caused. I've also seen several examples of how people in our community can be so kind and helpful when their neighbours are in need.

 

The City of Toronto is continuing to provide updated information this morning on ongoing impacts and the City's response to the ice storm. City staff scheduled to work today are asked to report for their regular shifts to continue to deliver as many services as possible to residents, businesses and visitors.

 

I have also requested, along with many of my colleagues, that the mayor declare a state of emergency. While this might sound dramatic, it really is simply a procedure to formally request the Province and other municipalities for additional resources to help the City of Toronto ensure our streets are safe and accessible, and as soon as possible. It also sets forward an Emergency Management Team with the Deputy-Mayor as its Chair. However, I have been assured by the City Manager that the Province has indicated that all available resources will be provided regardless of whether the mayor declares a state of emergency. If the job gets done for residents without a formal declaration, great. But the job is clearly far from being done.There are still hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who are without power and Toronto Hydro is unable yet to provide us with information on exactly when power will be restored for specific streets.


Toronto Hydro is currently reporting that approximately 225,000 customers are without power. Hydro crews have been and will continue working around the clock to respond. The utility hopes to have power restored by Wednesday. Call Toronto Hydro's Lights Out number, 416-542-8000, for serious situations only.



The City's emergency services (Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Police) are operating and managing increased call volumes. Residents are reminded to only call 911 in the event of an emergency. The non-emergency number for Toronto Police Service is 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.



The TTC has made progress restoring system service, with streetcar service resuming on all routes. Please check www.ttc.ca for updates and service alerts.



GO Transit is operating an Adjusted Winter Schedule today. Check schedule details at http://gotransit.com/public/en/schedules/winterstorm.aspx.



The City's Transportation Services Division reports that approximately 100 traffic signals are not working but the count may change as power is restored. Salting operations are continuing on collector roads, local roads and sidewalks. The following roads in Scarborough are closed to traffic as they are not safe due to fallen power lines and trees:


- Old Kingston Road from Military Trail to Manse Road
- Military Trail from Old Kingston Road to Bobmar Road
- St. Andrews Road from Meldazy Drive to Suraty Avenue
- Colonel Danforth Trail - Bonacres Avenue to dead end
- Highview Avenue at Lillington Avenue
- Pinegrove Road at South Edgely Avenue.

The City is operating nine Reception Centres where vulnerable residents and those who need assistance can access food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are welcome:

 

- Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
- Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Rd/Finch)
- Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
- Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
- Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
- Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
- Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
- Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
- 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)



Community centres with power are expected to operate as usual; those without power will be closed. There may be some program and operating impacts at community centres that are being used as Reception Centres.



Toronto public libraries with power are expected to operate as usual; those without power will be closed.



The Toronto District School Board has advised that all Early Learning and Child Care Centres operated by the City of Toronto and located in TDSB sites will be closed tomorrow. A list of the sites is available at toronto.ca.



All Toronto Catholic District School Board facilities and daycare centres will be closed today and tomorrow. Toronto Children's Services is planning to send children home at locations where the power is off. Parents should try to contact their child care centre or provider prior to drop off to determine whether service will be available.



For more information about when to keep and when to throw out refrigerated foods, visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/pub/foodsafe/homefood.html.



For more information and advice about emergency preparedness visit http://www.toronto.ca/oem.



For updates during an emergency event and other City of Toronto information, follow @TorontoComms on Twitter. The City will be using #citystorm when providing updates on the storm. I am also posting updates on Twitter @joshmatlow

 

I do hope you stay safe and warm! We'll get through this together.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

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