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Ground water issues a slippery slope

After a summer of diverting water out of their swampy back yard and cleaning up a flooded basement Lana McCaw and her family were still shocked to find the ice age that recently took over their front lawn.

McCaw had been dealing with ground water issues since she moved into the house on Scott Crescent in West Kelowna just over two years ago.

She says she was told by the District of West Kelowna that because her problem was an issue with natural flowing groundwater she should build a trench or some sort of culvert to divert the water.

"I did build a trench and I attached a little bit of a pipe so it would direct away from my house and go on to my lawn not thinking there would be too much water, because it has never flooded my backyard completely or I've never seen it, until it decided to freeze and turn my front yard into a glacier," says McCaw, exasperated after a morning of moving pipe to redirect water away from her lawn.

"I know the issue is with ground water but they tampered with the natural disbursement of the way it drains down the mountain and it became a man made stream."

McCaw says earlier in the year her and her spouse decided to find where exactly the water was coming from, after it destroyed their garden shed.

"We decided to hike up the mountain through our back yard to see where the water was coming from. And that is where we found this storage drain."

The alleged pipe causing issues is located inside Rock Ride Park, (undeveloped land between Griffiths Place and Scott Crescent) managed by the DWK, according to McCaw.

She explains that when she asked the District about the pipe they claimed they conducted a dye test,  where dye was added to the stream to see if it ran down through McCaw's property and it did not.

"I don't know when they conducted this test, I asked to see the results and they never showed me. I also asked if they could do it again with me present, but they never did. But when I followed the water it was coming from this pipe on the District's property."

McCaw isn't the only West Kelowna Estate Resident dealing with ground water issues.

Ryan Gurney, who moved to the area two years ago and lives above McCaw, has had problems since his basement was flooded by ground water last November.

"A retaining wall that was brand new at the time started to buckle because of the pressure of the water. The problem just got worse over time," he says. "We had to eventually call in contractors and engineers to ultimately fix the problem, which is still in progress."

After thousands of dollars spent Gurney was told by his contractor that they could only speculate, but they believed the ground water was following the District's utilities line.

In response the District of West Kelowna did not feel it was appropriate to speak with Castanet on camera at this time, but did issue this statement:

"The District’s Engineering Department is very aware of the serious issue a resident on Scott Road (Crescent) is experiencing with drainage. The area of concern, Scott Road, is an area which has historically had groundwater issues, pre-dating the District’s incorporation over five years ago. In fact, the entire West Kelowna Estates area has its share of drainage issues which the District is working to address.

This particular concern is being investigated by the District as we speak. An engineering firm was hired to conduct a study and report back findings and potential solutions. This report will be reviewed by our Engineering Department to determine the appropriate course of action."

Besides frozen lawns and flooding basements, McCaw is also concerned for people's safety after groundwater spilled onto Scott Crescent pooling and freezing.

"Someone could be walking along, slip and hurt themselves or driving along and run into someone," she worries.

DKW responded by staying they are aware of the pooling water on the roads and says a maintenance contractor has been on notice for the area.

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