Friday, November 8, 2013

Something Good Came Out Of Toronto City Hall.

Anyone that knows anything about me will know I subscribe to the ethos of just being myself, and I'm prone to falling outside of conforming sometimes.  After all, I'm unique - just like everyone else is - and not all these "one size fits all" policies work.

I don't go out of my way to be obnoxious, but I'm more than happy to show authority when what suits 80% of the public doesn't suit me.  If someone is not willing to fix things that I'm paying for, I just go up the ladder until someone has the gumption and sense of responsibility to get it right.

This pays off.

I frequently joke that Toronto's City Hall is like my own personal piƱata that I hit with the angry stick until something falls out.  The result of this is I'm probably despised there, but I'm on familiar terms with just about everyone who does anything remotely affecting me, from garbage disposal trucks to water.

As people also know, I'm acutely familiar with basement flooding (and flooding in general) in Toronto, and I'm pretty vocal about it.  Whilst I can't vote for anyone here (I'm not a Canadian - I just live here and pay taxes), I've held court at my home with everyone from the local councillor to program managers and environmental engineers, and I have explained and proven that whilst it's very nice that we have these plans and programs, they sometimes come across as "inadequate in this circumstance".

Because the city caused the problem, and the city has the plans and details of the house, the street it sits on, the underground connections between the house and sewers, I asked them to advise which sewer we were blocking off, having shown where the water ingressed.  That's something they couldn't tell us, but the "guidelines" that fit 80% of the people can now be thrown out as we try to over-engineer a solution.

The reason is the city rebate program only covers one back-flow preventer (BFP) device, up to a maximum cost of $1,250.  As the city had no idea which sewer we needed protection from, we had to do both.  That means I've now fallen outside of the program guidelines.  
Ultimately, this solution still costs me more money personally, but I get peace of mind. 

We discussed this with the city, and they verbally agreed to bend the rules.  I was really happy when I got home last night and found the city people had kept their word to make exceptions and the rebate cheque was adjusted to 200% higher than the maximum amount to reflect my own circumstances - therefore covering both BFPs at the max guideline rate that the program only covers one for.

Whilst not everything coming out of city hall right now is positive, this handling of my flooding experience has been handled very well.