Report by Mike Douglas
Photos by Mike Douglas, except where indicated

Al Haines on Paisley Boulevard East in Cooksville is a ham radio enthusiast and has been for a long time. All his radios and more were destroyed by the flash flood waters of the Cooksville Creek. That’s mud on his floor and his TV is ruined. His backyard is strewn with full garbage bags, and he’s just beginning a long and expensive cleanup two days after the worst flood in Mississauga’s history.

“This is by far the worst flooding we have had,” Al says. “The Cooksville Creek is at capacity and it’s been aggravated by northern development—there’s no insurance for floods here.”

Below, Haines marks the height of the flood water once it settled after squeezing in his doors and windows to cross the main floor before filling his basement.

Just down the street, Connie McClure and Daniel Lamy were flooded out and at this point can’t get back into their home to secure their belongings. The overflow culvert grate across the street was quickly blocked by leaves and branches, and water rapidly overflowed the street and into yards, flooding Connie and Daniel’s bungalow again. In 2009, the creek water rose by four to five feet and destroyed their basement.

On July 8, 2013, the water climbed more than 10 feet and rushed to collapse the foundation of their home. They could barely get out and had to swim to safety.

“We cleared the grates, battened down the hatches, put towels under the doors, we spread bags of limestone across the garage door, took the dogs upstairs and still we were too late,” says McClure. “In half an hour it went from a ditch across the street to four feet of water surrounding the house.

“I heard a boom when the window burst and Dave had to swim out to the car and loaded up the dogs and drove away. I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t get out of the dining room because so much water was on the other side of the door and it seemed like eternity until Dave got back. We had no shoes, no wallet…”

The next day, the City slapped an Order to Remedy on their window for having an unsafe building. She was working on it, she said.

Their insurers are denying their coverage claiming it was a storm draining failure.

“I have a lawyer and we are suing the insurance company because we believe we have the coverage. They covered us last time and it was the same situation.”

Unfortunately, when the power failed their sump pump also failed. She asks what the City is going to do about the consequences of the urban sprawl they have encouraged: “It would have been nice if the City of Mississauga did something.”

The City is responsible for infrastructure, she says, and this has been a longstanding problem. Connie believes erosion controls and berms are being built in the north because it’s easier, but it creates a bottleneck in her neighbourhood and it seems to her that the City has decided that Paisley Circle should be the retention pond for the Cooksville Creek.

Neighbour Greg Carraro, a husband, father and teacher, feels lucky he only has to replace all the belongings in his basement, again. “After the flood in 2009, I got a new basement. I put the stereo down there, all our electronics and paperwork, the office, our kids toys—now it’s lost, ruined.”

“My wife wants to move but I don’t. My grandparents built this house, it’s in a beautiful area and we have a wonderful yard—but when it clouds up, our hearts go into our throats.” He’s upset to admit that “the question that has come up is: if the water goes all around our house, how will we get out?”

Carraro and McClure met for a year as volunteers serving on the City’s Flooding Task Force. With experts from the City, the Mayor and three Councillors along with residents, they decided their goal was primarily “to mitigate the risks and effects of flooding in the Cooksville Creek floodplain and watershed.”

Carraro shrugs, “We had all these good ideas and nothing happened; they were supposed to put up a berm this fall.”


Antonio and David Medeiros are frustrated.

“Since 2009 nothing has been done to prevent flooding, and it’s always with some other guy’s department. The last flood was in 2009 and it was a “100-year flood.” They say there were no walls to deflect the water and no drainage when it happens. They say we’re to fend for ourselves. We pay taxes, don’t we? It’s crazy—my car was carried 80 feet!”

Antonio Medeiros put a strong aluminum fence around his property but it was no match for the fallen trees and creek land debris that smashed through it while wrapping portions of his garage around trees.

The cars were ruined by the dirt inside the engine and electronics. The garage roof sits nearby; the rest of the garage is scattered into the forest.

“I want to fill [his house] in and build over it. You won’t ever hear me say this was an act of god.”


Resident Norma Manson says: “I don’t swim. The water was raging—I thought the windows would burst. I called the fire department and they told me to get upstairs, and that the whole city is in trouble. It’s pretty scary. We lost all of our shoes; we saw them on the fence over there.

“It took us five hours to pump out our basement. There’s a strong musty smell in there and we can’t put our gas on or run our washing machine. The car in the garage was underwater; it’s been towed, and they’ll see what they can save.

“We thought of moving away in 2009, but they told us it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Now we may move, even though it’s a great neighbourhood. Most of our photos are gone, as well as our antiques, the kids’ dollhouse—all ruined. Some things you can replace, and some things tear you up.”

She speculates that the insurance will cover the sewer backup portion of the damage.

“Last time, the City people were angry with us for living on a flood plain when we had the 100-year storm four years ago,” Manson says. “We went to all the meetings and they said they would do something in 2015.

“We told the Credit Valley Conservation Authority four years ago that they had to make changes to the creek but they wanted to keep Cooksville Creek pristine.

“It’s not fair for the older residents. Last time it cost us $25,000; this time it’s much worse. And we’re heading into retirement, just trying to stay on top of things.

“They paved over Square One and all that development means we got their runoff. We’re hoping the City will have some kind of compensation.”