May 21, 2024

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You are Your Only Limit

Environment Canada mum on why climate radar lower out all through big storm

3 min read

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Want to ask Ecosystem and Local weather Improve Canada about the temperature? You may possibly have a seven-thirty day period hold out — and nevertheless not get an answer.

That is what transpired when this newspaper inquired about the floods that strike Ottawa on Aug. 10, 2023, following 38 millimetres of rain fell in a one stormy afternoon.

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From late early morning into mid-evening that working day, radar coverage of that storm held reducing out. Streets and homes were flooded, but users of the community seeking to seem at Surroundings Canada’s radar map saved obtaining the message “Radar unavailable … remember to consider yet again later.”

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This newspaper adopted up with an access to data ask for inquiring the federal section for any new details on the radar’s trustworthiness, and also asking: had been there any comments from the general public? Accessibility to info regulation is the official usually means by which associates of the community are supposed to be equipped to get hold of facts from the federal government.

In mid-September, the office wrote that it necessary 30 much more days to reply.

Considering that then, almost nothing.

One of the flooded areas was River Ward, the place Coun. Riley Brockington lives. He says metropolis officers noticed extraordinary climate coming and braced for it — building positive that drains ended up cleared of leaves or debris, and persons were warned.

“I chair the unexpected emergency preparedness committee, so I’m a large amount additional cognizant of getting individuals all set, having individuals knowledgeable, obtaining details out, warning men and women about any sort of storm that is coming and could have influence, just to be prepared and completely ready,” he explained.

He’s puzzled by the absence of response from Setting Canada. The department is the prime agency for weather data, he suggests. “Environment Canada is like the Bible, and if individuals rely on their radar or other feeds for sources of facts … then that has to be taken care of.”

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Brockington understands that specialized glitches do take place, “but the actuality that they haven’t replied and supplied info is a head-scratcher.”

Jim Turk, who runs the Centre for No cost Expression at Toronto Metropolitan University, blames weak entry to info laws.

“The lack of response by Natural environment Canada to your two basic and straight-ahead requests for what should really be readily readily available info are yet much more illustrations of Canada’s deeply flawed access-to-information technique,” he wrote in an email.

“Democracy is dependent on the public becoming equipped to know what its governments, authorities departments and companies do. But all too usually, our regulations that are to be certain openness are so weak that they rather enable govt secrecy.”

Natural environment Canada explained this week that it will procedure our request “in conjunction with our present-day workload and priorities.”

What people attempting to access the Setting Canada radar map noticed — consistently — through the Aug. 10 storm. Postmedia
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