An unexpected river running through her property last Thursday has a Naramata business owner worried about the potential for even more serious problems when spring runoff reaches its peak.
LaVonne Gould, who owns Real Things Pizza at 961 Robinson Ave. along with husband Rocky, has had water issues since constructing their residential/commercial building 14 years ago but never as bad as last week.
“I was just keeping my eye on it the night we had all the rain because it was going on either side of my place, mud down the back and a river down the front. It was just unbelievable the force of the water coming through there,” said Gould, who estimated the damage at nearly $1,000. “The river was so big running through the driveway people (customers) were just pulling to the side of the road. They were afraid to drive through it and then they had to jump over it to come in and get their pizza.
“We haven’t had any water in the building, thank God, but I’m just not sure what’s going to happen in the next while.”
She added the situation is worsening every year, first becoming noticeable seven years ago when Naramata Road above them was widened.
Gould also believes the residential developments on Smethurst and Arawana roads may also be contributing to the increasing problems.
“I tracked the water and I didn’t think it came from that high but it came through a series of properties and fed onto Robinson hill,” said Gould. “So we have problems on both sides of the creek and in the development. On Arawana a house got evacuated in the last storm because mud slid right up against it.”
Another big part of the issue, she believes, is caused by culverts directing the water flow, which she says are not being cleaned regularly and/or are not adequate to do the job.
“I went up to look and of course the culverts and everything were all blocked with rocks and debris,” said Gould. “I have photos of the mouth where the culvert comes out at the creek and it still has snow sitting in the bottom of it, so like zero water came out of that the last storm. It all just literally went through my driveway and tore it up.”
So she complained about the problems to officials at Argo Road Maintenance, the company responsible for cleaning culverts.
However, office manager Al Fraser of Argo said it is actually a catch basin system used for the drainage course around the Gould’s property.
Instead of an open mouth pipe, catch basins have lids or grates that allow the water to go through.
Fraser said Argo was not involved in the installation of the catch basins and he is not entirely sure about the system, although his company is responsible for cleaning them.
“Those CB (catch basins) were put in last year or the year before,” said Fraser. “When it rained as hard as it did that Thursday night, it was the heavy rainfall that caused the material to cover over the catch basin lid. Then the water eventually ran down onto her (Gould’s) property.
“In a situation where they (lids) just get covered over in a storm, much like everywhere else, we’ve just got to work at them.”
Calls to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure were not returned by press deadline.