Pitt residents to get drainage ditch

City will dig one hoping to move pooling water behind Wildwood Crescent

Michael Stark trudges through pooled water near his backyard on Wildwood Crescent.

Michael Stark trudges through pooled water near his backyard on Wildwood Crescent.

Residents of a Pitt Meadows neighbourhood whose backyards are a soggy mess will soon be getting relief in the form of a ditch.

At a committee meeting Tuesday, council agreed to spend an estimated $14,250 to dig the trench, a sum that includes having  engineering firm ISL design it.

The ditch will be dug behind Wildwood Crescent, near a paved trail, which residents believe is trapping water behind their homes.

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.

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

To date, the city has spent $18,361.67 on assessing drainage along the trail, at the direction of council.

On Tuesday, Mayor Don MacLean was the only one to vote against spending taxpayer’s money to dig the ditch.

Couns. Deb Walters, Tracy Miyashita, Doug Bing, Gwen O’Connell and a reluctant John Becker supported the expense.

“If enough people show up and are having an issue that the city can help them with, we throw money at it,” said MacLean, who has a “funny feeling” the ditch won’t do much for drainage in a historically “wet” area.

“There are larger issues of drainage in that whole area. I know staff will be working on it in the coming month. It’s a little premature.”

He pointed to the Thurber Engineering study, which found the path has not affected drainage, a finding residents continue to dispute.

“Why do the study, if you are going to make political decision?,” said MacLean, referring to the lobbying done by affected residents and several councillors who have taken up their cause during an election year.

“Next time, it could be $100,000 or $200,000 and if you did it for them, why don’t you do it for us?”

The affected residents still want the city to hold TransLink responsible for the water building up behind their homes.

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

“We gone a little tiny baby step forward. Now we have to wait and see if it’s going to help us,” 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.

Her neighbour Mike Stark is also skeptical.  He believes the ditch being considered is too shallow.

“We don’t want to be ungrateful, but we will have to wait and see if this works,” he said.

The committee’s decision to dig the ditch will get final approval at a council meeting on Tuesday.

Construction will likely begin in summer.