March 12, 2018 6:57 pm

‘Swimming hole’ of puddles worries Calgary business owners and pedestrians

WATCH: As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, the city is trying to keep up with all of the requests to clear ice-clogged catch basins.

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A puddle has become an obstacle for anyone trying to cross Centre Street North at 20 Avenue in Calgary.

It’s so big, Susan MacDonald–who owns Cabin Fever Books next door–has ended up calling it the “polar bear plunge.” She’s worried about the close calls she sees every day, when pedestrians try to get around the water.

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“It’s been really scary,” MacDonald said. “I saw a lady who almost dropped her grandchild into that puddle of water. I saw a man the other day in a motorized wheelchair. I was just pulling in so I didn’t have the opportunity to help, but a lady stopped on 20 Avenue and jumped out and saved him–otherwise he would’ve been in that swimming hole.”

READ MORE: Calgary braces for possible flooding from rapid snowmelt

Richard Glass lives in the area and was wondering how anyone could cross safely at the intersection without rubber boots.

“It’s definitely a big one,” Glass said. “I don’t know how you get around that. Stand out on the street, maybe? Hope you don’t get run over.”

It’s left residents and business owners calling 311 and hoping the city responds sooner rather than later.

“The catch basins are not being cleared out,” MacDonald said. “They are sending the big graders down the road and they are creating piles on the side. Rarely do they ever clear the driveways and of course, the catch basins are right on the corner. They are just not being cleared out.”

Business owners say they saw city crews respond but as of Monday, the puddle remained.

There are approximately 60,000 storm drains across Calgary. Of those, 2,000 are considered priority.

As of Sunday, a city spokesman said crews had attended 1,549 of the priority storm drains/catch basins. In addition to the identified priority areas for catch-basin response, a total of 1,131 service requests via 311 have been created since March 8.

READ MORE: Calgary sees snowiest start to March on record

Calgary has officially seen over a metre of snow since Dec. 20, with many areas in the city seeing two to three times that amount. This was the third snowiest February on record, with nearly triple the average monthly snowfall. The city broke a one-day snowfall record on March 2, 2018, after receiving 13 centimetres of snow.

There should be more melting to come, as most of this week is forecasted by Global News weather specialists to be at or above seasonal temperatures, with highs ranging from 3 C to 8 C.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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