On September 28, city resident Brian Hill made an unqualified, undocumented comment in a letter to the Windsor Star’s editor. He spoke of how his family members were, “… victims of the recent flooding,” and added that nothing, “… could help the amount of water coming into my house. The storm sewers were overloaded due to the unexpected amount of rain.”
Hill acclaims the work of mayor Drew Dilkens who, he said, was doing, “… everything in his power to get things back to normal.”
It is an intriguing comment. It’s so close to an election that it smacks of an air of sycophantic puffery, unreinforced by evidence.
Hill’s claim that nothing could prevent 6,000 flooded homes needs examination, if only to clear the air.
Before people start mounting letter writing campaigns to shore up the image of a failing mayor who, by the way, largely seemed able to sit and do nothing after the 2016 flood, there needs to be a full housecleaning of the circumstances.
There is much offered evidence on social media although, admittedly, not a definitive source, but representative of common knowledge that a number of things were happening during the storm which prevented the free flow of water. Some of the comments suggest that maybe some of the city’s sewers were debris littered, which could have limited their functionality.
If nothing else, such suspicions should elicit a response by the city to say it checked the accusations and to report all the sewer pipes are immaculate.
A reader, in a detailed letter to The Square, also brought into view some serious questions about the Grand Marais Drain, which almost overflowed its banks. The fact it didn’t suggests it is working to scope, although there are suggestions it is, “… over-capacitated with storm water during major rain events.”
The writer wondered if the three concrete passages under the Herb Gray Parkway are actually undersized which, “… could cause the Parkway to become a dam,” and by doing so have the effect of, “… sewer backups down the residential streets and basements on the east side of the dam [Parkway].”
What is known to those who drive the parkway is the Caterpillar-brand equipment at ground level which powers powerful pumps to keep the freeway and its many below grade dips water free. The pumps do raise an odd question in some quarters which could shed doubt on Hill assuming nothing could be done to stop the rain damage.
Apparently, the parkway’s pumps can vacate storm water. If so, why can’t this technology be foisted upon an unsuspecting public to ensure their basements do not become aquatic centres? With so many questions, the public needs more than the eight-part plan hatched by the mayor, which itself seems cautionary and blameless.
The issue should not be who is to blame for the flooding, but how it can all be fixed.
A detailed independent investigation by people who know, and not a politically generated eight point plan, is the real solution. The sooner the better.