Pitt Meadows residents want Translink held responsible for drainage problems

City will investigate costs to dig a ditch to drain pooling water

The Golden Crossing Consortium constructed this “French drain” behind Mike Stark’s property after he complained of water in his backyard.

The Golden Crossing Consortium constructed this “French drain” behind Mike Stark’s property after he complained of water in his backyard.

Residents of a Pitt Meadows neighbourhood whose backyards are a soggy mess don’t want the city to absolve TransLink of responsibility for the water building up behind their homes.

“I don’t know why the city would be taking the side of TransLink over its residents,” said Leslie Colquhoun, who has lived in her home on Wildwood Crescent for 32 years and never had pooling water on her property until a trail was built behind it.

Although an engineering study conducted by the City of Pitt Meadows found the recreation trail constructed as part of the Golden Ears Bridge project is not affecting sub-surface drainage, residents of the 19800-block of Wildwood Crescent continue to believe it is trapping water behind their houses.

City director of operations Kim Grout confirmed TransLink will not pay for any improvements to drainage along the asphalt trail.

“All of the data we have collected and the experts are indicating it’s a surface water problem,” said Grout.

“It seems the review has pushed it well outside the scope of what TransLink can respond to. While I appreciate the residents’ position about there being water, all of the factual data from third parties is indicating you can’t blame the trail.”

The $10,000 Thurber Engineering study found a five-metre strip behind residential lots in the 198000-block of Wildwood Crescent has flood plain deposits that have always drained poorly.

The flooding, it suggested, was most likely being caused by “natural ponding” due to an undulating or rolling terrain.

But the Golden Crossing Consortium, which built the toll bridge and surrounding road improvements, did pay to install more culverts last year, lower several of them and construct a “French drain” behind Mike Stark’s property after he complained his backyard was looking more like a pond.

Stark said installing the 122-metre (400 foot) French drain (a trench covered with gravel or rock that redirects surface and groundwater away from an area)  solved his drainage problems.  The contractor who installed it estimated the drain cost between $40,000 to $60,000.

“The city needs to get TransLink to take responsibility for this,” Stark added.

“I much rather TransLink pay for this like they paid for what happened behind my house.”

A warranty period to address defects or deficiencies related to Golden Ears bridge project, including the Wildwood trail, ends Nov. 30.

Once the warrant expires, the city will be responsible for any work done along the stretch.

In a report to council on Tuesday, ISL Engineering, another engineering firm, suggested drainage behind Wildwood Crescent could “likely” be improved by digging a ditch.

Couns. Deb Walters, Tracy Miyashita, Doug Bing and Gwen O’Connell asked staff to investigate the costs of digging it.

“It’s seems like a reasonable and effective solution to help these folks out,” said Walters.

But Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean felt digging a ditch for the Wildwood residents could lead to similar requests from all over the city.

He suggested the residents could pay for the ditch themselves, and that the pooling water was perhaps caused naturally by global warming.

“Water is like the bubble of air behind wall paper, you can move it all around and it will show up somewhere else,” said MacLean.

The city is currently conducting a review of its entire drainage system and will be digging a holding pond near the Katzie Slough to increase water storage capacity in the area.