THUNDER BAY – Law suits and flooding are likely 2014 Civic Election issues. There are many people who are viewing the decision by some people impacted by flooding to enter into a class action law suit as either wrong, or even as despicable. What those residents are doing is taking legal action against the city and the province of Ontario and using some of the legal avenues open to them. It is a process that may take a while, and will likely, should the case make it to court require that the City of Thunder Bay mount a defence against the claims being made against it.
Over the past weeks, as the recovery effort continues, it can be said that the city has done well in getting things going to help. From what it looks like, the law suit against the city is not slighting those efforts, but rather the actions that governments took before the sewage and water flowed into the homes in the East End, Northwood, lower High Street and other impacted areas.
There may be grounds there where a judge may find the city responsible. It is way too early for any of the ‘arm-chair judges and juries’ to be reaching for a rope.
However the bigger, and more important issues facing Thunder Bay are what to do now and into the future to ensure no such flooding is to happen again. Likely that means the City of Thunder Bay and Province of Ontario have some real work ahead of them. First there is a review, apparently already ongoing of the Emergency Plan. Second is a review scheduled to find out exactly what happened at the Atlantic Avenue Pumping Station. Finally there is likely a need to review all city budgets and to evaluate, and re-evaluate spending plans.
It is very likely that the first civil politician, or administrator to suggest a priority be a new Event Centre might find that since May 28th that priorities in our city have changed. Thunder Bay’s basic infrastructure is in need of repairs, and perhaps even the building of a back-up plan. Planning for an event centre isn’t as important as that right now.
Basics before luxuries will likely become the mantra at City Hall.
It is going to be easy to point fingers of blame. Some in our community already are, but then that has become a Thunder Bay staple.
Those issues are already being examined, and solutions sought. If there is a criticism of the class action law-suits it could be that they will delay the release of any reports or the start of any public inquiry that may come about.
The flooding, the response and the looming law suit may become major election issues in 2014. Making sure that the public has a greater understanding of what happened, and what is being done to ensure it can never happen again have likely become the issues that may dominate that next election.
The class action law suit may end up, as the elephant in the room for incumbent councillors and the mayor. If the case is still ongoing, they will likely be unable to speak of many of the issues, but one can be positive that their opponents will be doing so.
If there is a criticism of the law suit, that may be the real one.
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