Burlington prepares for climate change

It was almost two years ago to the day that Burlington was hit by a massive storm that wreaked devastation on three thousand homes, plus roads, parks, and businesses.

A program has been developed at the University of Waterloo to teach homeowners how to reduce the risk of floods. When MPP Eleanor McMahon heard about it, she wanted Burlington to be the first to participate because of the impact of the storm in 2014.

McMahon brought some money from the province and the region of Halton and City of Burlington will also be involved.

It will start with 4000 homes that can opt into a flood-specific home assessment, the hope is that this will spread across the province.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring wasn’t home much after the massive floods of 2014 he was busy helping the city get back on its feet. It was his wife who had to deal with the flooding in his own home.

Insurance covered the cost of fixing his basement but he’s spent about 18 thousand dollars since to prevent future floods, including fixing the lateral pipe between the city sewer and his house.

The Goldrings also installed a sump pump with backup battery and they put in a backflow valve.

None of the mayor’s new flood-prevention measures will work without maintenance.

MPP McMahon says the best we can do with devastation is learn from it. And what she saw in August 2014, was some homeowners were better off than others, because they were prepared.

There will be a cost for the assessment, from $125 to 275 depending on the size of your home.

The objective of this program is to educate people about what they can do to minimize the flooding risk in their own homes. Halton Region programs, and work people can do on their own.


  1. The rainfall intensity characteristics of climate that drive urban flooding, like that in Burlington in 2014, has not changed according to Environment Canada scientists’ review of Engineering Climate Datasets, as published in Atmosphere-Ocean in 2014:


    In fact, these are more statistically significant decreasing rainfall intensity trends in southern Ontario than increasing ones.

    What has changed in Burlington over the past decades? – urbanization. Mapping comparing 1966 to late 1990’s urban areas shows how Burlington watersheds have been paved over dramatically. Expanded impervious, high-runoff surfaces cause more runoff and more flooding over time:


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