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Excess runoff continues to wash out Naramata, B.C. subdivision

Click to play video: 'Runoff still washing out Naramata subdivision'
Runoff still washing out Naramata subdivision
Naramata residents say they are frustrated and scared as they continue to deal with excess runoff. The Stonebrook subdivision sits just below a new development, which locals say has exacerbated drainage issues. – Sep 19, 2022

Every time it rains, a Naramata, B.C., resident says she fears for her life.

Lynn Held and her neighbours have been dealing with excess runoff, which they believe is being exacerbated by a new development, Vista, above their homes.

“What does it take to resolve the problem so that nobody gets killed or hurt?” said Held. “I don’t sleep, hardly, at night. This is terrible. My life is hell.”

Read more: Regional district eyeing possibility of reopening historic Adra Tunnel on KVR Trail

The excess runoff has washed mud, rocks and debris through the subdivision — a nightmare situation that has been ongoing since 2018, with the most recent mudslide occurring a few days ago.

“All the rainwater comes from the Vista site and goes into the quarry and pools up and then lets loose all at once,” said Naramata resident Dave Maw. “We’ve been impacted since 2018, on almost a yearly basis.”

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Vista is the third development in a series of new homes in Naramata. In 2018, work began on the Outlook subdivision and Kettle Valley subdivision, both south of Stonebrook.

Around the same time, properties along Winifred Road and Gammon Road faced severe runoff and erosion behind their homes.

Click to play video: 'PNE Dream Home Mudslide'
PNE Dream Home Mudslide

According to Naramata resident Norbert Lacis, mitigating the damage caused by excess runoff is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.

“Looks to me like taxpayers like us are going be footing the bill for inadequate drainage that the developers put in in the first place,” said Lacis.

Lacis added that the same developer that worked on the Outlook subdivision is also involved with the Vista project.

“Here we stand in 2022 with a third development going in by one of the same developers and the same kind of problems,” said Lacis.

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“Heavy rainfall and water, mud, rock washes down the hill through our subdivision and causes a lot of damage, and, in this case, actually could have hurt somebody.”

Naramata Benchlands is the developer behind the Outlook subdivision and Vista project. Global News reached out to Naramata Benchlands for comment, but they were unavailable.

Read more: Naramata residents say development is intensifying water woes

The regional district approves rezoning applications for developments like Vista, but Lacis went on to say that the process is lacking key proactive measures.

“I think anybody with a reasonable amount of common sense realizes that when you do developments on hillsides, and particularly when you remove every single tree and recontour the entire hillside, that runoff is a problem,” said Lacis.

“It just doesn’t require an engineering degree to realize that there’s a potential problem, particularly when you know the history here, where two developments already have caused problems.”

Residents say between local governments, the province and the developer, no one is taking accountability.

“The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) was very unresponsive and said that they had no jurisdiction with what the developer was doing. The RDOS washed their hands of the issues and said no, it’s a MOTI responsibility,” added Lacis.

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Global News has reached out to the regional district for more information.

Click to play video: 'Engineer says developer not responsible for groundwater impact in wake of Naramata water woes'
Engineer says developer not responsible for groundwater impact in wake of Naramata water woes

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