BARRIE, ONT. —
The EF-2 tornado that ripped apart dozens of homes in a Barrie, Ont., neighbourhood last week is estimated to have caused more damage than a devastating twister that touched down in Angus seven years ago.
The City of Barrie says there are currently 70 unsafe orders still in place, although 18 families have been allowed to return to their homes.
Still, signs of recovery are starting to appear just eight days after the destructive twister. Contractors and cleaning crews are on-site at many properties, working to rebuild what they can, while volunteers come together to help residents pick up the pieces.
“We have a lot of families that are still reaching out,” says Sheri Braun, Clean Up Barrie.
Braun says the generosity is far-reaching. “We’ve had people come as far away at Hamilton to do drop-offs and donations, so it’s been unbelievable.”
The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICRL) pegs the cost of the Barrie tornado higher than the 2014 Angus EF-2 twister, which it says had roughly $50 million in claims.
“We’re seeing more roofs lost, which means those homes will have to be knocked down, plus this time around, we seem to have more auto claims than we did in Angus,” says McGillivray.
He says the official damage estimate for the Barrie neighbourhood will be tallied in the next couple of weeks.
McGillivray adds the cost to rebuild will also be higher than the 2014 tornado. “One of the things that’s going to factor into the cost is the price of lumber right now, which is considerably high.”
The city says it’s still too early to know how many homes will have to be completely rebuilt. “We’re still waiting for another 53 engineering reports,” says Scott LaMantia, City of Barrie.
The city is waiving any building permit fees required to do repairs related to the tornado damage.
The public bins will stay at the recovery site until Monday.
EF-2 TORNADO HITS ANGUS ON JUNE 17, 2014
The tornado that touched down in the southern Ontario community on June 17, 2014, damaged over 100 properties with wind speeds of 220 km/h.
Experts with Environment Canada called the power and speed of the EF-2 tornado “remarkable.”
The storm left roughly 300 people homeless for months.
The winds knocked down fences and ripped roofs from houses, but no one was seriously injured.
Hundreds of volunteers helped pick up the pieces with the cleanup and rebuild.
The Township of Essa declared a state of emergency to allow extra resources to help deal with the aftermath of the powerful storm.