Homeowners are worried their properties will be flooded by water draining from the rooftop of the facility and its parking lot into their back alley and backyards.
With the health facility’s property built up to prevent flooding, neighbouring property owners were already nervous about water running onto their land.
But fears escalated late last month as construction progressed on the health facility’s parking lot, which included the installation of a culvert on the north side of the property. It will run water from the lot into a grassy stretch of land running along the edge of Harrigan Crescent’s back alley. Homeowners such as Pat and Debbie Bischoff are concerned about what this will mean for their home.
The couple already have issues with water entering their garage in the spring, which they attribute to improper grading of the alley and no nearby sewer drains.
“This culvert, I don’t know what we’re going to do if this comes into play,” Pat said. “It’s not going to be just our problem, it’s going to be a lot of people.”
He pumps the water out and digs a small trench to divert it, but the Bischoffs are worried how many more gallons would be heading their way in a rainstorm once the health facility’s parking lot is paved.
Last spring, they submitted a letter to council that was signed by a number of Harrigan Crescent residents voicing their concerns, but they did not receive a response back. They submitted another letter last week.
“Nobody’s giving us any answers,” Debbie stated.
She noted the houses on the block were hit hard by the flood of June 2010 and insurance only covered homes that had sewer back up. Since then, those homeowners were required to install check valves to prevent sewer back up.
“Now if anybody’s basement floods, they’re all on their own,” Debbie said.
The whole neighbourhood takes pride in it’s appearance and maintaining their properties, she added.
“A lot of these homes are worth a lot of money,” she said. “We’re very proud of the crescent. Everybody looks after their yards.”
Mayor Barry Rudd said the town will address drainage problems if it becomes an issue, but the work is ultimately the responsibility of the architects and construction company.
However, Stantec Architecture believes the shallow swale running east and west between the facility’s property and the alley will be sufficient to drain water to the creek.
“The consultant team have designed the site drainage to suit the surface drainage limitations available on site based on survey information provided to the project team,” it reported. “The drainage patterns from the site will not change post-construction. The existing surface drainage concept was the primary design driver for the site drainage, since there is no storm sewer system in the area.”
The Bischoffs don’t believe this will be enough to keep the properties along their street dry.
While they are glad to see the community receiving a brand new healthcare facility, they don’t want to deal with water woes as a result of it.
“It makes you wonder if the architects that do that, do they even know there’s houses here?” Pat asked. “Are they just looking at the blueprints of the hospital like there’s nothing outside of that?”
Rudd said the town did grade the alley better recently to deter water from flowing into yards. But he said it all goes back to how the houses and garages were built years ago – resting level with the alley instead of being built up to drain water away. Building inspections should require the ground to be built up at least a few inches, he stated.
The mayor said the town is not ignoring the concerns.
“We don’t want to see anybody get any water anywhere – whether it’s your garage or whatever it is,” he stated.
If a downpour causes sudden problems, the town could bring in a grader and have a trench dug in 20 minutes, Rudd said.
“We’re definitely taking it serious,” he stated.
He said the town will do whatever is necessary to keep water away from the properties, but it will be dealt with if there are problems once the new health facility is complete.
“If we have to do it, then we’ll do it.”