Beaches residents frustrated with city after repeated flooding
Published Friday, August 10, 2012 7:58AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 10, 2012 9:11PM EDT
Some Beaches residents woke up to soggy basements Friday morning, in what they say is a frequent occurrence in an area that the city has failed to drain properly.
Residents in the area of Woodbine Avenue and Kew Beach Avenue reported water nearly half a metre deep covered parts of the roadway after 24 mm of rain fell overnight.
Resident Joanne Dicaire bailed out her basement, which has flooded with a mixture of rain water and sewage seven times since she has lived in the home.
She and other residents blame the city for closing off needed drainage in order to protect the nearby beach’s blue-flag status, which indicates a variety of factors, including good water quality.
“The city has to update the infrastructure if it wants a blue-flag beach, it’s that simple,” Dicare said.
Beaches resident Bob Kelly also pointed to the popular city-owned beach as the source of the area’s water woes.
“If this water got onto that beach, it would affect the blue-flag status,” Kelly said. “So, rather than let the water go into the beach -- the sewer water go right into the beach -- they continue to let it go into our basements.”
The city denied it shut down area storm sewers, saying in a statement that is has developed a system to intercept storm water in a series of storage tanks and storm-water ponds, which will overflow into the lake if there is too much water.
Dicaire disagreed, saying the water in homeowners’ basements, including her own, was proof that something isn’t working.
“It blows up through the showers, it comes in through the window, you never know,” she said. “One neighbour had it come in through her washer.”
City crews worked throughout the morning and afternoon to clear storm sewers in the area to aid in drainage.
Besides water damage, the stormy weather gave a rude awakening to residents of several Beaches homes after a suspected lightning strike sent a giant tree toppling down onto the roof of a home on Willow Avenue, near Queen Street East.
A four-foot wide tree smashed the balcony and the back end of the home, causing some of the structure to collapse.
Stephanie Hutchison, a ballerina with The National Ballet, lives in one part of the home.
She told CTV Toronto that the tree fell on her bedroom, where she was sharing a bed with her five-year-old daughter.
“In a second, in the flash of an instant, I rolled on top of her and grabbed her and pushed out from under the debris,” Hutchison said.
Both of them crawled through the debris and made it out unscratched.
The tree also damaged resident Anna Harcourt’s main floor, smashing her dining room chair and tables.
Fire crews evacuated the homes to the north and south of the property, as well.
The wet weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend, with showers predicted for Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, according to Environment Canada.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman