Wool­wich to move on Bres­lau drain prob­lems; coun­cil ap­proves hir­ing of en­gi­neer

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - STEVE KANNON

WITH RES­I­DENTS OF THE El­roy Acres sub­di­vi­sion in Bres­lau fac­ing on­go­ing flood­ing is­sues, Wool­wich is mov­ing to make im­prove­ments to a run­down mu­nic­i­pal drain.

As a first step, coun­cil­lors meet­ing Tues­day night ap­proved spend­ing up to $50,000 to hire an en­gi­neer­ing firm to be­gin in­ves­ti­gat­ing the prob­lem and op­tions for fix­ing it.

Full en­gi­neer­ing costs could hit $150,000 and con­struc­tion an­other $700,000, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates from the town­ship’s drainage su­per­in­ten­dent. As with sim­i­lar projects, the tab would even­tu­ally be picked up by the ben­e­fit­ting prop­erty own­ers.

Some im­prove­ments are needed come what may, as the cur­rent drain is in poor shape and un­der­sized for cur­rent de­mands, deputy clerk Jeff Smith told coun­cil­lors. Known as Bres­lau Mu­nic­i­pal Drain No. 1, it dates back to 1953 and hasn’t been well main­tained in the in­ter­ven­ing decades.

Wool­wich re­ceived re­quests for im­prove­ments from four res­i­dents, he noted.

“The re­quest for main­te­nance was in part due to pond­ing of wa­ter on res­i­dents’ prop­er­ties, sur­charg­ing of the drain and re­ports of base­ment flood­ing,” Smith said in a writ­ten re­port.

“Cam­era in­spec­tion of the closed por­tion of the drain re­vealed ap­prox­i­mately 30 block­ages in­clud­ing pipes, roots, mud, and stones and the cam­era in­spec­tion had to be aban­doned 10 times due to block­ages. The open por­tion of the drain re­quires cleanout, brush­ing and lev­el­ling.”

The prob­lems were well doc­u­mented by res­i­dents who ad­dressed coun­cil.

Kennedy Road res­i­dent Dave Ritchie, for in­stance, said his yard is fre­quently in­un­dated with three or four feet of wa­ter dur­ing snowmelts, par­tic­u­larly the Feb­ru­ary thaw.

“I’m prob­a­bly the most af­fected per­son in the room,” he said, show­ing pho­tos of wa­ter pool­ing a few feet deep in his yard.

He ex­plained that his low-ly­ing lot has be­come an out­let for wa­ter run­ning down­hill dur­ing heavy rain­falls and snowmelts, sug­gest­ing that neigh­bours fill­ing in drainage ditches have made the si­t­u­a­tion worse.

“This all started to hap­pen when the ditches start­ing get­ting filled in.

“I’m very an­gry about it,” he said of the wa­ter pour­ing onto his prop­erty. “I need some­thing done now, or else I’ll be flooded again in Feb­ru­ary.”

He wasn’t the only res­i­dent ask­ing the town­ship to make clear­ing ditches a pri­or­ity.

“I just want peo­ple to be ac­count­able for fill­ing in the ditches,” said Mike Markovic, not­ing the ditches used to be ef­fec­tive in mit­i­gat­ing the flood­ing, but have since been filled in. As such, stormwa­ter isn’t drain­ing from the El­roy Acres sub­di­vi­sion as it once did.

The tribu­la­tions of the neigh­bour­hood got a sym­pa­thetic hear­ing from coun­cil­lors.

“Your pa­tience is over­whelm­ing,” Coun. Mark Bau­man told Ritchie. “I can ap­pre­ci­ate this is not ac­cept­able. This can’t hap­pen in Feb­ru­ary again.

“We need to have a so­lu­tion – a short-term so­lu­tion and a long-term so­lu­tion.”

Sim­ply clean­ing out ditches may not be the so­lu­tion in ques­tion, how­ever, ar­gued di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and plan­ning Dan Ken­na­ley.

“We’re not sure that the fill­ing in of ditches is the ma­jor prob­lem here,” he said, not­ing the modelling to be done by the en­gi­neer­ing firm would help staff get a bet­ter han­dle on the prob­lem.

“I don’t think that just open­ing up the ditches is go­ing to be the so­lu­tion,” added drainage su­per­in­ten­dent Greg Nancekivel, sug­gest­ing that it wouldn’t make sense to spend a large sum of money on that pur­suit if the so­lu­tion is to re­place the drains in rel­a­tively short or­der.

Pressed by coun­cil, Smith said staff would be ex­pe­dit­ing the process, start­ing with pick­ing an en­gi­neer.

[SUB­MIT­TED]

Bres­lau res­i­dent Dave Ritchie shared pho­tos of the flood­ing that rou­tinely takes place in his yard, par­tic­u­larly in win­ter thaws.

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