Peel Council Supports Tax Relief for Hickory Drive Explosion Victims in Mississauga

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The past couple of weeks have been both disappointing and uplifting for victims of the massive Hickory Drive house explosion that rocked the city last year.

Recently, word got out that Mississauga City Council decided not to waive the payment of property taxes for the residents displaced by the explosion. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie defended the decision at the time, saying that there were many avenues available to the residents for compensation and that the city had never waived property taxes in the event of a disaster (flooding, fire, etc) before.

That said, the city did eventually decide to make an exception, passing Councillor Chris Fonseca's motion to provide a grant for those residents affected by the explosion. Fonseca’s motion passed by a vote of 10 in favour and one against.

Now, it appears Peel Council also supports the grant for the numerous victims who are still displaced months after the incident.

"On behalf of the city of Mississauga and members of council, I want to express my deepest appreciation to my Peel Council colleagues for agreeing to support Councillor Chris Fonseca's motion to give a property tax grant to residents displaced by the 2016 Hickory Drive explosion," Crombie said in a statement. "Today's unanimous decision by Peel Council follows Mississauga Council's decision to provide a grant to residents of Hickory Drive equivalent to the property taxes they have paid while displaced from their homes as a result of the June 2016 explosion."

Crombie went on to praise council for doing the right thing, but stood by her initial call for more support from the province.

"Peel Council did what was right. I am proud of my Council colleagues for their compassion during what has truly been an extraordinary situation Mississauga," Crombie said. "I wish to reiterate my call to the provincial government to take urgent action so that the burden does not continue to fall on the local government. This includes waiving the provincial portion of the property tax collected."

Although this motion is new, affected residents have received assistance from the city.

According to tax adjustment statements, the city has provided a total of $23,279 in relief for 26 homes, ranging from $246 to $1,728. Council has also waived the 1.25 per cent late payment charges for displaced residents and the $15 tax appeal application fee.

The city also noted that the process of obtaining building permits was expedited for victims and that 29 addresses still have building code orders that prohibit occupancy. Council also waived late payment charges for displaced residents during their displacement period.

Council also waived the tax appeal application fee.

The city also added that Information has been provided on the appeal process and that staff have assisted residents in completing applications. Also, applications have been expedited through MPAC with nearly all tax appeals for the 2016 tax year already having been processed through council.

"We will continue to work with impacted property owners, their insurance companies, utilities and partner agencies to help the community on the road to recovery. I want to acknowledge all those who continue to work to support those displaced families, and especially Councillor Fonseca, in need of ongoing care and support."

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