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Vernon  

Water threatening home

Fred and Janet Nelson's dream home is turning into a nightmare.

The couple live on Bodwell Road off of Pottery Road and for the first time since they built their home 14 years ago, there is water in their yard – a lot of water.

Millions of litres of water have been flowing through the couple's property, threatening the foundation of the home they planned to retire in.

The home was built specifically to meet Janet's needs who is in a wheelchair.

But since last Friday, two streams of water have been carving a path through their property. An adobe fence around a small courtyard diverted some of the water away from their home, but Fred fears the gushing streams will compromise the foundation.

To divert the water, Fred has been forced to bring in heavy equipment to dig ditches and install pipes to lead the water to a small gully that he hopes can contain the flow.

However, he said he must be careful as he does not want to flood the neighbours below him.

Fred said the problems began when a culvert was installed uphill from his home.

“They say this is a unique year, but we have been here for high snowpacks, fast melts, slow melts – we have never had a single problem,” said Fred. “The culverts were approved by the Ministry of Highways.”

But no one is willing to step up and help the homeowner deal with the situation.

Fred has contacted the company building the subdivision which told him it is the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure's problem, who in turn told Fred it was not their problem.

He then contacted the regional district which told him it was the MOTI's jurisdiction.

Bob Fleming, with the regional district, told the Nelsons he would look into it, but in the meantime they have to shell out tens of thousands of dollars from their own pocket to keep their home from washing away.

“At this point there is nobody to step up and help us,” said Fred, adding he has been forced into a corner and getting a lawyer seems to be the only way to deal with the situation.

“There is only one recourse left and that is for me to litigate.”

But the meantime, he and Janet have to deal with the stress of a flooded basement, water pouring through their yard and the uncertainty of what's to come.

“We have to do something about it now to protect our home and our property,” said Janet.

The couple have also hired a hydrogeologist to help find a solution.

“This is going to cost us a lot. Our insurance doesn't cover this,” said Janet. “We just have to go ahead and protect our property and deal with whoever is responsible down the road.”
Fred estimates it could cost upwards of $200,000 by the time all is said and done, and that will take a huge bite out of their retirement plans.



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