St. James residents frustrated over handling of back alley flooding

As the weather continues to warm, the predictable problem of flooding is beginning to rear its ugly head.

Back alleys across Winnipeg are seeing an influx of water as snow packs around the city melt.

“One of my neighbours ripped off her bumper, that’s how deep and bad it was,” says Bruce Ault, who lives in St. James.

City crews arrived five days after being called to this back lane in St. James.

Ault’s back lane floods almost annually, and usually city crews are on scene within days after receiving a call detailing the flood.

“Over the years it was never a problem but all of the sudden this year it’s an issue.”

A close up of the ice chunks in the back lane of a St. James neighbourhood.

After calling in late March, he was told the city is no longer draining back alley floods.

Ault’s neighbour Pamela Mikos called 311 as soon as she heard the wait would be two weeks.

“Our children and our cars both could not come back here. The icebergs were extremely thick and damaging. It was about 10 inches deep,” says Mikos.

A St. James resident measuring the flood water in their back alley.

After five days of repeated 311 calls from residents who occupy the back lane, city crews arrived to thaw the ice and drain the water.

“We’re busy thawing out those curb inlets and culverts, helping the water to flow and we are expecting in the days ahead our crews are going to continue to be super busy,” says Ken Allen of the city’s public works department.

Allen says nine crews are out daily thawing ice and draining water from streets and back lanes across the city.

He explained that when 311 receives a call, it goes onto a priority list that street crews follow.

“All of the information is conveyed to our field crews. As the thawing crew works its way through the list, they would be addressing the water situation at that location.”

Anyone facing back lane flooding in the coming weeks is being told to expect a similar wait time.

 

 

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