WEST KELOWNA — They were supposed to be the storm water solution, to curb chronic flooding after heavy rainfall. Instead they’ve caused nothing but animosity and anger.
The deep ditches dug in West Kelowna’s Casa Loma neighbourhood to prevent flooding have spurred a flood of complaints from neighbouring residents. They say the ditches are an eyesore, a safety concern and haven’t done their job of stopping the flood waters.
“It’s ludacris. I’m a contractor. If I did work like [the district of West Kelowna] did I’d be out of business so fast,” said Casa Loma resident Trent Breitkreutz.
A meeting was held in the district of West Kelowna Wednesday night to discuss proposed options on how to fix the ditches, mainly for the 21 home owners whose residences are directly affected.
Residents were given three construction options on how to re-vamp the current storm water system, but were told they’d need to foot the bill, which would cost each homeowner anywhere between roughly $21,000 – $29,300 a piece.
The three construction options are as follows:
Option 1: new roads and underground storm sewer
Estimated cost: $21,193 per residence
Option 2: new roads, storm sewer and sidewalk
Estimated cost: $25,145 per residence
Option 3: new roads, sewer, sidewalk, street lights
Estimated cost: $29,395 per residence
There is also a fourth option, which wouldn’t cost the homeowners a penny, but it would only be an aesthetic fix. It involves adding additional rocks to make the ditches less deep and replacing the sandbag headwalls with concrete block headwalls.
“The objective of council was to have the meeting and report to council on what was said and what the thoughts are,” said West Kelowna chief administrative officer, Jim Zaffino.
The thoughts of residents rang through loud and clear — they don’t want any of the four options and don’t want to be on the hook for the cost of the fixes.
“What they did initially was inadequate and unsafe,” said Breitkreutz, “our main concern is that it was done poorly initially and we’re have a hard time trusting they’ll do a better job of it on the next round and certainly aren’t willing to pay for the mistakes that they made.”
Residents were given a feedback form at the meeting for their ideas on where to go from here. They have until May 7 to hand those in to the district.
The recommendations will then be complied and discussed by council sometime later in May to see what the next steps will be.