Kelowna development up the hill being blamed for water damage down the hill

Click to play video: 'Second Kelowna neighborhood to blame new development for their flooding problems' Second Kelowna neighborhood to blame new development for their flooding problems
Second Kelowna neighborhood to blame new development for their flooding problems – Mar 28, 2018

Israel Shapiro’s Kelowna home on Rialto Drive in the upper Clifton area has been damaged by water.

Water has found its way into his basement and it has saturated his yard.

“We saw water coming up through the cracks in the floor,” he told Global News.

But Shapiro’s isn’t the only property that’s been flooded in the neighbourhood.

A number of people are blaming the issue on new development up the hill in the Wilden area.

Shapiro used a drone camera to record a number of soaked yards in his neighbourhood.

“At least four properties there that we know of,” he said.

March Olsen lives across the street. His backyard has also been submerged in water for about a week now.

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“It’s getting pretty bad,” he said. “It’s slowly seeping in.”

Of the Wilden development, area resident Barry Dodich said, “There’s an awful lot of fill in there, that’s an awful lot of water that’s being re-directed.

“And the blasting that occurred, it was continuous for two, three years, you can’t tell me that that has not altered something in the structure of the earth underneath.”

A spokesperson for the Wilden development told Global News he’s surprised to hear the residents pointing the blame at the construction up above, saying the company has been building homes there for about 12 years with no issues.

Russ Foster also said the company has spent a lot of time and money developing a drainage system that directs the stormwater downhill into Blair pond.

Last week, another Kelowna neighborhood reported flooding troubles.

A number of homes in the lower section of Kirschner Mountain have also been flooded. Residents there also believe new development uphill is to blame.

READ MORE: More Kelowna homes flooded, residents point blame at new construction above

While the City of Kelowna empathizes, the city said the cause is more likely higher-than-normal groundwater, which has been an issue throughout the city this season, possibly a build-up from previous years.

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“We don’t have a direct link between development on a hillside and groundwater issues downstream,” City of Kelowna development engineering manager James Kay said.

“We understand there are concerns and certainly we are looking at the development to see if there are impacts but unfortunately groundwater is not monitored or regulated and so if it is groundwater including groundwater changes, there’s very little that can be done.”

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