Senior, 82, upset Bashaw won’t deal with bad drainage problem

Water accumulating as a result of a drainage issue on Bashaw resident Hazel brooks’ property. ECA Review/Hazel Brooks photo

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

BASHAW – A Bashaw property owner wants the Town of Bashaw to do more with a serious drainage problem on her property.

Hazel Brooks, 82, who’s lived at her current property since 2011, said she owns two adjacent lots which had no serious drainage issues before the construction of a major new building in town.

“Before this new school was built, there was no problem,” said Brooks, who added she never noticed water problems on her property until 2016.

Brooks said the problems started when Battle River School Division began construction of the new school in 2016, which included the demolition of the old building. 

Brooks said during construction “they brought in a lot of dirt” and two drains were placed that run down 25 feet.

She said the culvert sits “at quite an angle” so when it rains or snow melts the water really moves, bringing with it sand and gravel which resulted in a ruined garden, including shrubs and perennials.

As the water runs across her property, said Brooks, it eventually arrives at a row of trees which divide Brooks’ two lots and then seems to disappear. She said she’s worried because water doesn’t just disappear.

In the summer of 2020 Brooks stated heavy rain caused water to run across the property and threaten her home and the only thing that stopped it was a pile of lumber which Brooks had sitting there waiting to be assembled into a deck.

The senior citizen stated that the damage to her property is obvious when anyone looks at the drain that comes down between 51st Street, which runs along the east side of the school property, and the municipal sidewalk that runs by the school. She noted the drain is on town property.

Brooks said she’s complained to the Town of Bashaw on several occasions about the situation and did have some discussions with the town on fixing the problem. 

She said the town offered to purchase one of her lots, but she said the town’s offer wasn’t fair. Brooks stated the Town of Bashaw offered to buy the vacant lot for $18,500 but that Brooks had to pay all expenses, including construction of a berm. 

Brooks said she feels $30,000 would be a fair offer, which would cover expenses related to the drainage problem.

As she declined the town’s offer in September 2020, Brooks said it appears the town’s offer was final. 

Brooks said she doesn’t really want to sell the vacant lot but is worried about her house.

The offer was confirmed in an email from the Town of Bashaw July 16. 

“We are aware of the situation and the issues. Our attempts to resolve the situation with the property owner have been declined,” said Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller.

“We have noted the culvert has been blocked since June 22, 2021. The town did not place this blockage. The source is unknown.”

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/East Central Alberta Review