Toronto and Richmond Hill share Watershed Award for Ontario

IBC and FCM announce winners of first annual Watershed Awards to recognize communities adapting to effects of climate change

TORONTO, May 29 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), has awarded both the City of Toronto and the Town of Richmond Hill the 2010 Watershed Award for the province of Ontario. The City of Toronto won for its Basement Flooding Protection Program and the Town of Richmond Hill won for its Pioneer Park Stormwater Management Project.

This is the inaugural year of the Watershed Awards, which are part of FCM's Sustainable Community Awards and were presented this evening at FCM's 73rd Annual Conference and Municipal Expo(TM) in Toronto. The awards were created to recognize Canadian municipalities that have taken proactive measures to reduce their vulnerability to storm and wastewater damage.

"Severe weather resulting from climate change has become a formidable foe," said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. "Insurers see first-hand the impact and havoc this causes for individuals and communities. The Watershed Awards shine a spotlight on communities that have taken the initiative to adapt to the effects of climate change to protect their citizens and, in the process, inspire other communities to follow their lead," he added.

FCM President Basil Stewart, mayor of Summerside, PEI, said: "Municipalities are among the leaders in the battle against climate change. It's important to recognize the most innovative measures being implemented by municipal governments across the country to reduce storm and wastewater damage in their communities."

Basement Flooding Protection Program, City of Toronto

Extreme storms can cause widespread surface and basement flooding when the design capacity of the existing storm drainage system is exceeded. After a severe storm in 2005 resulted in estimated damages of up to $500 million - making it the largest natural disaster in southern Ontario - the City of Toronto conducted a comprehensive engineering review in 32 priority areas. The resulting adaptive management strategy included an integrated systems approach, using source (lot level) controls, minor system (storm sewer) improvements, sanitary sewer system improvements and major system (overland flow) control. Among other advantages, this strategy provides an enhanced level of protection against basement flooding in areas where a major stormwater drainage system does not exist.

Pioneer Park Stormwater Management Project, Town of Richmond Hill

The Pioneer Park Stormwater Management Project rehabilitated an existing flood control facility to protect flood vulnerable areas and existing infrastructure, enhance erosion control, treat water quality, and stabilize the associated watercourse. The Town of Richmond Hill used watershed planning principles and public consultation to develop a facility design that incorporated both climate change adaptation and mitigation components and addressed environmental, social and economic issues.

About IBC

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $39 billion.

About FCM

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. With more than 1,800 members, FCM represents the interests of municipalities on policy and program matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. Members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities and 18 provincial and territorial municipal associations.

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SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: For further information: IBC: Ellen Woodger, (416) 483-2358; or Pete Karageorgos, (416) 362-2031 ext. 4329; FCM: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6399 or

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