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Whose water is it, anyway?
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 29 novembre 2012

Photo: Marie Cicchini

The family’s daycare playground is sodden year-round.

Harry Gross and his neighbours at 2430 Barclay Ave. are wondering where all the water on their sodden properties is coming from.

The long-time Darlington residents, who live on the Mount Royal slope at the base of a cliff, first experienced the vexing problem three years ago. Water levels kept rising in the Gross family’s sopping wet backyard, and the steady flow of water out of the rock face doesn’t even freeze up in winter. To date, no one has been able to pinpoint the precise cause of the problem.

Gross has picked up the fight with borough services on behalf of his neighbours who live near the corner of Wilderton. Many of them couldn’t keep putting off the costly work necessary to protect their foundations, and installed expensive French drains, at their own expense, to channel away the torrent flowing down via the Gross family’s backyard onto their properties.

After confirming that traces of chlorine were found in the water (apparently meaning that it’s City, not spring water), borough services discovered and fixed four leaks in their aqueduct system last July and said that the problem was solved. They claim to have eliminated all leaks within a one km radius of the problem area.

“But the property is still inundated, and the water is coming back up and approaching the house. The stream doesn’t freeze up in the winter,” said Gross, whom we met at his duplex on Nov. 16.

Gross got a phone call at the end of October - the City can’t determine where the water is coming from. There are traces of chlorine in it, but it’s in minute quantities. Gross has been advised to install French drains.

At the Nov. 5 CDN-NDG borough council meeting, acting mayor and Darlington district councillor Lionel Perez advised Gross to write to the ombudsman, saying that there is nothing else city services can do. “The goodwill, the intention, the efforts of our services cannot be put into question,” said Perez during Gross’s third address to the council in about a year.

[ Marie Cicchini ]


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