Colchester Harbour Marina in the Town of Essex, May 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Blue Flag Canada)

Essex residents to get shoreline help

If you live along the Lake Erie shoreline in the town of Essex, you may soon have an option for protecting your property from floods.

Essex Town Council voted this week to move along the process of offering to extend a special loan program to residents living along the lakeshore. The town administration said the program will provide these residents with loans, in partnership with a local financial institution, to repair or construct protective works to prevent high water and flooding. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) will also be available to consult with property owners to determine their best options for shoreline protection.

Essex Mayor Larry Snively said putting such a program in place is vital.

“This council knows that there are property owners out there who are looking for help and we agreed that something needs to be done,” said Snively in a media release. “This program will give these property owners another option when it comes to investing in protecting their properties.”

For the program to work, the town directly lends funding for property repair and flooding prevention directly to the homeowner. The funding will be borrowed by the town from a financial institution. The property owner will then pay the loan back through their existing property taxes.

The province of Ontario had a similar loan program in place, but it was discontinued in 2010, according to the town. Jeffery Morrison, Essex’s director of corporate services, said this will help make the process less stressful.

“The program will provide a convenient way for shoreline property owners to undertake projects to protect their home and properties,” said Morrison, who also indicated that the costs will be recoverable and have no impact on Essex’s debt or operating expenses.

Owners interested in the program are asked to provide their contact information through the town’s official website. Once the system has been formally approved, the town will contact them.