Mud­slide closes Ke­nil­worth Ac­cess as city drenched

Down­pour causes flood­ing trou­bles all over the city; rains con­tin­u­ing, pos­si­ble snow flur­ries on Sunday

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN

Re­lent­less rain has so far caused a mud­slide on Ke­nil­worth Ac­cess, flooded base­ments and streets, un­der­mined a sec­tion of York Road and over­whelmed the city’s sewage treat­ment plant — with a wet weekend still to come.

Rocks, mud and tree branches came slid­ing down the sod­den hill­side above the Moun­tain-climb­ing road around 5 p.m. Fri­day, but most of the de­bris was caught by con­crete rock fence pro­tect­ing the road­way.

While no one was in­jured and no ve­hi­cles were dam­aged, the city has closed all up­bound lanes of the eas­tend ac­cess as a pre­cau­tion. Crews will re­port Satur­day to work on cleanup and re­pairs.

The slow-but-steady rain — more than 50 mm had been recorded by the Royal Botan­i­cal Gar­dens be­tween Thurs­day and Fri­day af­ter­noon — also washed out part of the shoul­der of the west leg of the Sher­man Ac­cess. The city will close that leg be­tween 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday to re­pair the

dam­age.

The del­uge has forced the city treat­ment plant to al­low par­tially un­treated sewage to flow into the har­bour to pro­tect res­i­dents from sewer back­ups. This is called “sec­ondary by­pass mode” and has been the case since 7 p.m. Thurs­day night, and will con­tinue into the weekend de­pend­ing on the rain­fall.

Rel­a­tively few base­ment floods — fewer than 10 as of mid­day — were re­ported to the city Fri­day. An April 20 storm, by com­par­i­son, dumped a month’s worth of rain on parts of Hamil­ton in a mat­ter of hours and prompted more than 100 res­i­dents to ask the city for com­pas­sion­ate grants to deal with wet base­ments.

The com­par­i­son is cold com­fort for Jim Lorentz and his neigh­bours on the Beach Strip, which saw the worst lo­cal flood­ing Fri­day — and through most of last week — thanks in part to Lake On­tario lev­els that are higher than any seen since the early 1990s.

“I have five pumps work­ing in the base­ment now,” said a frus­trated Lorentz, star­ing at a small lake of wa­ter cov­er­ing the dead­end side of Bay­side Av­enue.

“It doesn’t mat­ter; the wa­ter just keeps com­ing. I’ve lost the fur­nace, the wa­ter heater, an an­tique bed. There’s no stop­ping it.”

Sucker trucks could be seen clear­ing out sew­ers at the end of at least five Beach Strip side streets Fri­day, but dozens of home­own­ers have, none­the­less, re­ported wet crawl spa­ces and base­ments.

Lorentz noted his home is only a few years old and was built un­der new city rules meant to keep crawl spa­ces and first floors above his­tor­i­cal flood lev­els on the strip. He won­dered whether those stan­dards should be changed, “or whether they’re be­ing en­forced.”

Flood­ing did af­fect res­i­dents in other parts of the city, in­clud­ing at the base of the es­carp­ment in Cork­town.

“It just keeps leak­ing into the base­ment. First one side, then the other,” said Stan Fer­gu­son, who said he has been wet-vac­u­um­ing the bow­els of his 1880s-era two­s­torey home near Cork­town Park for sev­eral days.

“It’s into the dry­wall now, so I’ll have to deal with that — if it ever stops rain­ing,” he said with a laugh.

Road-flood­ing was a con­cern through­out the day, with the Des­jardins Canal over­flow­ing onto King Street East near Olympic Drive and the swollen Grind­stone Creek spilling over Val­ley Inn Road.

Part of York Road in Dun­das is closed at least through the weekend due to fears swollen creek wa­ter has un­der­mined the road around a dam­aged cul­vert.

On the up­side, a large metal grate at a crit­i­cal pinch-point in Sy­den­ham Creek in Dun­das was clear of de­bris Fri­day.

The grate clogged with de­bris dur­ing the April 20 rain­storm and was blamed for wide­spread sur­face flood­ing in the area when the creek over­flowed.

Look­ing ahead, soc­cer play­ers and im­pa­tient gardeners can also ex­pect to suf­fer as a re­sult of the soggy weather.

The city warned res­i­dents the wet weather would de­lay the nor­mal May 8 open­ing of most nat­u­ral sports fields and ball di­a­monds, and that the Wa­ter­front Trail is closed be­tween Bayfront Park and Cootes Drive.

The Cor­po­ral Nathan Cir­illo Leash Free Dog Park in An­caster and the Spencer Creek Trail in Dun­das are closed due to flood­ing.

The city also nixed a free com­post and mulch give­away that had been planned for May 6. The rain date is May 13.

More than 50 mm of rain has been recorded at the Royal Botan­i­cal Gar­dens as of late Fri­day.

More driz­zle is ex­pected Satur­day and tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to stay low through­out the weekend, hov­er­ing around 6 to 8 C be­fore drop­ping to zero on Sunday with pos­si­ble flur­ries.

The never-end­ing rain — nearly 200 mm was recorded in April — spurred the Hamil­ton Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity to is­sue a flood­watch

ad­vi­sory for the city.

Wa­ter lev­els are al­ready up, which raises con­cerns about safety and sta­bil­ity around shore­lines, rivers and other wa­ter bod­ies — par­tic­u­larly for chil­dren and pets.

The City of Burling­ton has closed all parks with creeks and wa­ter­front trails as a pre­cau­tion dur­ing the heavy rains, while the Ni­a­gara Penin­sula Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity is warn­ing res­i­dents in Wel­land­port, Smithville, Vir­gil, Beamsville, and Stevensville to watch ris­ing river and creek lev­els.

Ke­nil­worth Ac­cess closed at hair­pin turn after mud­slide.

GARY YOKOYAMA, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle head­ing east on a par­tially flooded King Street East, to­ward Olympic Drive, in Dun­das.

GARY YOKOYAMA, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Churn­ing lake On­tario waves have oblit­er­ated the shore­line.

BARRY GRAY/HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Gary Lynch cap­tur­ing the fury of the storm on the pier as our wacky weather con­tin­ues.

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