HAMILTON — With property owners still assessing damage from last week’s flooding, residents of Hamilton’s West Side asked city officials Wednesday for help after storm water, and sometimes raw sewage, poured into their basements.
“The residents in my area, Park and Haldimand [Avenues], have had issues with the storm sewers backing up in our basements many times over the last 10 to 15 years,” said Carolyn Smith, a 23-year resident. “The first time it happened, I was told it was a once-in-a-hundred-year event.”
“A few years went by, I finished my basement, and in 2009 I had to make a $10,000 claim to my homeowners’ insurance … when it happened again,” she said, noting she has lost many irreplaceable things.
She removed the lower half of the basement’s drywall to prevent mold, put her clothes dryer on concrete blocks and bought wire shelving and a large industrial vacuum.
“Now when it happens, if it’s below 3 inches, it’s only a couple hours of my time and energy,” Smith said. “This last flood, many homes in the area were affected. As you know, there was a lot of water in our area.”
“Do something to prevent this from happening again,” she urged council members and city leaders. “But please don’t tell us it’s an act of God, because I don’t think God hates Haldimand Avenue. We should be able to use our basements and not watch the value of our property go down.”
Mayor Pat Moeller promised Smith and others that city administrators at council’s next meeting, June 22, will present a report about “a draft of a plan” to solve the problem.
“It might have a couple of options to it, but rest assured that we are aware of how this has affected those who have contacted us,” Moeller said. “We’re trying to responsive — we’re not trying to rush into something which may not be really well-thought-out. So we’ve got great department heads, great directors … working on a plan, and we will be talking about it at our June 22 meeting.”