The melt is underway, and a few problems are popping up. This past weekend there was a slough on the bank under Halpin Street. City manager of operations Mike Fox says that this is the same area that sloughed some ten years ago, and it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation as it did slide onto Highway 95A.
“We currently have closed Halpin to two way traffic,” Fox said. “We have it as a one way, up only, to keep traffic closest to the more stable part of the road.”
As for any threat to stability of houses on that bank, Fox says nothing has changed from what it was before. Again, Highways would deal with that, he said.
As for the melt, city residents are seeing some water in basements, says City CAO Scott Sommerville, and it really is up to property owners to be proactive.
“There are no sewer backups, just groundwater in basements,” he said.
And that type of flooding is the property owner’s responsibility.
“It’s the residents responsibility to make sure their house is secure,” Fox said. “it’s not the City’s responsibility if it’s a natural occurrence.”
That means making sure that water is being directed away from your house and onto the street where it can follow a natural flow to the river or storm sewers.
It means having a sump pump ready if you have a history of wet basements.
And don’t pump it directly into a drain.
“You should be pumping to surface and letting it run its course into a storm sewer,” Fox said.
And although many neighbourhoods don’t have storm sewers, if you direct the water to the street it will flow downhill until it hits a drain or creek.
If your property is below a city street, the onus is still on the property owner to secure their building from flooding.
“Private properties do not have to follow city recommendations on design,” Fox said. “We can’t force you to build your driveway properly. But we also can’t put all taxpayers on the hook for a bad driveway design.”
A lot of Kimberley was built before any design guidelines were in place.
“Our goal on city property, like streets, is to make sure streets are safe and accessible. We do haul snow to help prevent flooding, but we can’t do every street.”
Somerville says that operations do keep an eye on the forecast and if there is heavy rain in the offing, they will try to remove snow from neighbourhoods where basement flooding has been seen, but again they can’t get to everyone.
Warm weather, after a big snow and then rain, is the perfect recipe for flood problems. Sommerville says Sunday and Monday had good conditions — cool nights to slow down the melt and then warmer days with no rain. However, that’s not likely to last. There is rain in the forecast. Right now, all catch basins are open and storm sewers are clear but again, a heavy rain could change that.
Property owners are reminded to take a walk around their yards and see where water is flowing. If water is pooling somewhere, try to direct it away from your home. This is also helpful for insurance purposes.
“Insurance companies want to see you be proactive,” Sommerville saId. “They want you to show what you’ve been doing to protect your property.”