Toronto to offer help to storm-battered US East Coast

City Council comes together to offer aid in clean up, rebuilding

While Toronto escaped relatively unharmed from this week’s massive super storm Sandy, Deputy Mayor, Doug Holyday (Ward 3), says the city should count its blessings and step up to offer assistance to harder hit areas, such as New York City.

“You never know, it could be us in that situation, in need of some outside help,” Coun. Holyday told City Council Wednesday morning.

While admitting the idea was still in the formative stages, Coun. Holyday suggested bringing forward a motion to provide aid to sister cities along the U.S. Eastern seaboard that were hammered by Hurricane Sandy.

“I just think it would be a good gesture on our part to do it. I imagine there will be some cost, but it is money well spent. It’s the neighbourly thing to do,” he said.

Coun. Holyday admitted he couldn’t give a specific dollar figure on the aid, but thought Toronto could offer support by sending additional hydro crews and related emergency services,

Don Valley East Councillor Shelly Carroll (Ward 33) told the Toronto Observer that while offers of international aid was a federal responsibility, Toronto has pitched-in on previous occasions, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and to do so now would be mutually beneficial in terms of training emergency responders.

“Each time they serve at emergency they bring their experiences back. We’re now actually quite good at the initial response help,” she said.

Holyday emphasized the support should take place after contacting NYC and matching the aid plan with their needs. He said he hoped it be as early as this weekend.

Earlier, the Toronto Transit Commission confirmed it too had offered personnel to help the New York subway authority get its flooded system back on track.

In the end, council voted to support the plan.