Barrie neighbourhood continues to recover from tornado 1 month later

One month since an EF2 tornado tore through a Barrie neighbourhood, there are signs of recovery but a long road still lies ahead for homeowners seeking to rebuild.

“Dealing with insurance, it’s not as easy as everyone thinks. People are saying, ‘Don’t worry, the insurance will cover it,’ but it’s quite the roller-coaster ride,” said Oleksandr Mykhayletskyy.

He had just completed a renovation on the upper floor of his home when the tornado touched down. He said the upstairs level is now destroyed. The family has stayed with relatives and friends for several weeks as they struggled to find a home to rent.

Read more: Ontario offers disaster recovery assistance program for Barrie residents affected by tornado

“It’s really devastating that many people didn’t want to rent it for shorter term, less than a year, even though we explained the situation to them that we don’t really need it for a year,” said Mykhayletskyy.

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Two doors down, Jon Hunwicks stopped by to check on his home. The roof was ripped off and very little inside the home was salvageable.

“The only thing that stayed was on the wall there my grandfather’s WWII medals and his cap and stuff like that from the war in a shadow box,” he said.

The walls are covered in mould and there is debris everywhere inside Hunwicks’ home. Somehow, he still found a silver lining.

Read more: Construction worker recounts getting lifted up, knocked unconscious in Barrie tornado

“Nobody got seriously injured, nobody died, this can be replaced, walls can be rebuilt, houses rebuilt,” he said.

Down the street from Hunwicks’ home, Richelle Nemeth has also been displaced and stopped by briefly Monday to water the plants.

“I ran up the stairs and as I crossed the mud room toward the basement stairs, the front window blew in,” she recalled about the moment the tornado hit the area last month.

The City of Barrie estimates around 110 homes were damaged.

“The hard part, in many ways, once the emergency part is over, is rebuilding their lives, especially when much of their homes and sometimes all of their homes and all of their possessions have been lost,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.

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