Kew Beach flood clean up could cost thousands, homeowners threaten legal action
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Sunday, July 26, 2009 4:12PM EDT
Some homeowners in the Beach are threatening to take legal action against the city after their homes were flooded following heavy rain storms this weekend.
"Manhole covers, catch basins, everything was just gushing," says Marilyn Lake, whose home near Woodbine Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard was flooded.
She and Brian Lee took CP24 on a tour of their home as they assessed the damage. Belongings from their basement were drying out in their drive way.
The couple is among some of the residents near Kew Beach Avenue who are complaining they have suffered through this before and they blame the city for letting it happen again.
They say large holding tanks in the area overflow into their homes whenever there's a heavy rainfall. The couple says their home also flooded last July under similar circumstances.
"The pipes may be old, they're obviously poorly designed and they can't handle a simple summer rainstorm," says Lee, explaining that there were no floods before the city installed the equipment.
He claims the City told him to understand that the infrastructure is old and that he'd have to deal with it.
"I don't accept that. If the city has money in its budget for everything else, it needs to redesign the sewer system down here," he says.
The family is now looking at a hefty repair bill. Lake says that after the last flood, the insurance company did $30,000 worth of repairs. Another resident, Rob Boyco says his house suffered $80,000 damage last year.
"We were completely flooded out, after that our insurance was cancelled because they felt this whole area was too much of a high risk," she explains.
"There's a responsibility there to provide us with adequate drainage and to not have city water end up on private property," says Lee.
Lee and Lake say there are a number of lawyers who live in the area and residents are looking at their legal options.
The city installed the retention tanks as a measure to improve beach water quality and bring Kew Beach up to the Blue Flag international cleanliness standard.
City strategic communications director Kevin Sack says the tanks are not backing up and causing the catch basins to overflow.
Calls to the city to find out what they say the problem is were not immediately returned.
More flooding happened near Ontario Place, where motorists got a wild ride on Lake Shore Boulevard as water flooded the road in both directions after Sunday's thunderstorm quickly moved through.
Water on some stretches of the road was so high, cars were covered in up to half a metre of water.
Rain also overwhelmed sewers near Eastern Avenue and Leslie Street. Most cars were making it through the intersection on Saturday. But, at one point, police shut it down to let the rainwater drain away.
Some vehicles with wet engines and wiring were difficult to start Sunday morning.