As fellow columnist Mr. Friday notes, “it’s déjà vu all over again.”
Such was the state of affairs in St. Thomas on June 25, when the region was inundated with about 60 mm of rain over the course of the dinner hour, resulting in flooded basements throughout the city.
The residents of Montgomery Road now have company.
Welcome to homeowners on Parkside Drive, Wawa Street, Chestnut Street and about a dozen other locations where an inflow of water was experienced.
In total, city staff received 32 calls.
A detailed report from Edward Soldo, the city’s new manager of operations and compliance, will be presented to council on Monday.
In a nutshell, existing city sewers cannot handle an intense deluge as was the case several weeks ago.
The system is a combination of sanitary, storm and combined sewers with interconnections and overflows between them, the report notes.
”Stormwater management options are limited by the fact that the existing sewers provided no significant volume of in-line storage,” Soldo explains, “and neither the sanitary nor combined sewers were found to have the capacity to carry storm drainage.
“As a result, in wet weather, there are sewer overflows, treatment plant bypasses and basement flooding.”
Gee, those living on Montgomery Road could have saved staff the trouble of writing that report – they speak from years of experience.
Soldo recommends residents who endured the heartbreak of a flooded basement “submit a claim to their insurance provider related to their expenses.”
Sage advice, unless your policy is null and void as the result of previous water incursions.
“The residents also have a venue to submit a claim to the city as per our claims policy and procedures if there is a reason related to alleged negligence,” Soldo continues.
Be advised — you’ll have to wait your turn. Those same residents of Montgomery Road folks are still waiting for their number to be called.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER
With a 275-page agenda to deal with Monday night, perhaps the time has come to do away with the quaint tradition of paring back the council schedule to just one per month for the summer.
By the time our elected officials plow through this forest of paperwork, which follows on the heels of an in-camera session, will they still be in a frame of mind to make critical judgment calls on the matters at hand?
Shouldn’t city governance, even during the summer season, demand the full attention to detail of a council that is not glazed over in a hypnotic state by the sheer volume of reports and other paper paraphernalia?
Perhaps upping the schedule to two meetings each in July and August, in the realization life may take on a slow easy pace at this time however the business of maintaining this city’s competitive advantage doesn’t take a summer holiday, should be a strong consideration before the 2010 municipal election.
Having said that, what are the chances such a proposal will get lost in a paper blizzard somewhere?
STILL GRABBING HEADLINES
It should come as no surprise the loss to fire of Alma College in May, 2008 tops Heritage Canada Foundation’s worst losses list for the past year.
After all the historic school for girls topped the foundation’s Top Ten Endangered List not that long ago. It was inevitable that destruction by neglect, the accumulative toll of the elements and ultimately the allure of the vacant hulk as a haven for vandals would bring the main building to its knees.
However a fitting epitaph should read, “Alma succumbed due to of a lack of will by elected officials at all levels and the crass indifference of its owners.”
In a strange twist of fate, meantime, an image of Alma can be seen in the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced Orphan, which opens in theatres later this month.
Portrayed as an ever-so-creepy institution, the type of vision that can keep you sleep deprived weeks after viewing the film, perhaps this is the grand old lady coming back to forever haunt those who betrayed her.
Included in the pages of Monday’s massive agenda is Part 2 of the 2009 capital budget which calls for council to approve almost $2.3 million in expenditures.
One of the projects being pushed is the re-establishment of the north-south railway connection of the former London & Port Stanley Railway line from Wellington Street north to the CN mainline near the old Wabash station.
Good news for those who have pushed long and hard to preserve the railway heritage of St. Thomas.
The cost of this link is in the range of $400,000, to be funded through grants.
Also of note, $15,000 to establish a leash-free dog park in a yet-to-be determined location, but you have to lean toward the back area of Pinafore Park.
The city is also looking to raise an additional $10,000 for the project from within the community.
As stated before in this corner, drive north to one of the dog parks in London to appreciate the full value of what really is a minimal investment.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’d like them to at least acknowledge that it wasn’t any one’s fault down here.”
Parkside Drive resident Jamie Mcwilliam after suffering $7,500 damage to his basement following a heavy downpour.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.