Tempers rising with new floods

Beach residents consider suing the city over constant sewage backups

Several residents say they’re fighting mad and considering legal action against the city after heavy rainstorms in late July flooded their homes.

“It was unbelievable,” said Marilyn Lake, after finding about three feet of water in her basement.

Ward 32 councillor Sandra Bussin said the area is subject to flooding because the streets suffer from run-off.

“Many of the properties are problematic,” she said. “All of the homes below Queen are much closer to the waterline and run lower than the boardwalk.”

For Lake it’s the second time her home has been damaged because of excess water. As a result, she and at least 40 other residents are teaming together to put legal pressure on the city.

Last year her insurer paid $30,000 for flood damage but cancelled her policy.

This year she’s paid $1,000 out-of-pocket to cover furnace and water tank repairs, but she estimates costs will add up to at least $20,000 before the rebuilding of her home is done.

Kew Beach resident Joanne Dicaire said she and other neighbours are in the same boat.

When the storm hit, she was prepared. But it wasn’t enough.

“We had all our towels in case it came in, the shop vac standing by the shower in the basement so we could suck it up if the sewage came through there,” she said. “It came through the windows, the side doors so fast, so hard it was like a mini-river, a stream and it was sewage.”

“No domestic sump pump can keep it at bay,” she added.

Lake blamed the inadequate infrastructure near her home for the problem.

“All (the city) would have to do is run some more pipes so the excess water can escape,” she said.

A consultant is currently working on strategies to improve infrastructure in the area, Bussin said, and the city’s engineering team has been working on a closed-circuit television inspection of sewers since last year.

Lou Di Gironimo, general manager of Toronto Water, said possible solutions may include twinning the sewers or adding an above-ground tank to hold more water.

Bussin said she and Toronto Water staff are taking affected residents on a site tour around the area to explain how the detention tanks work, and to see about potential arrangements that can be made for residents in low-lying areas.

She admitted there are limits to what the city can do and even when remedies are put in place, some residents may still have to look at other solutions on their own property.


About this article:

By: Alexandra Christopoulos and Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Aug 19 2009 12:47 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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