Honey Bee Goes Condo: More Floods In Beach Homes
Each time a few single family homes are replaced with a towering Condominium, the number of toilets, sinks and people goes up. As the waste going into the system increases dramatically, where does all of that waste go? Can our city really handle piling more people, one on top of another above a crumbling infrastructure? The Beach, especially, is dependent on little more than the R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant, and it simply doesn’t seem plausible for the improvements to the plant to keep up with the demand on the system. It occurred to us that this might have something to do with some of the flooding issues that take place, and we weren’t wrong.
Bill the trusty Master plumber told Paul and I on the phone that, about 25 years ago, the city charged people for the installation of a mandatory dual drain system (it wasn’t cheap-twice the price of the original one) and never bothered hooking it up. They even have names and numbers of people who paid the bill for the work that the city never completed, and we intend to speak with these people to see how they feel about what happened. In theory, the system sounded like a great idea. One pipe would be the designated sanitation pipe, and the other would be reserved as a storm drain, separating rain water from the household sanitation system so it wouldn’t have to be filtered and so it wouldn’t be combined in volume with the internal pipes and cause flooding. Great idea, right? They actually do this out in the suburbs, but even the homes in the beach that have the fancy new system are still pumping all of their water to the same place, which means the R.C. Harris Water filtration plant still has to filter the rainwater on top of the ever-growing sanitation waste.
Regarding the infrastructure that’s behind many of the problems, the city insists that building permits for condos and such are based on the Engineering Department’s assessment of whether or not the city can handle the additional sanitation needs. Watching my friend on Gerrard wade through her basement last week, something doesn’t add up.Toronto isn’t the only place where the infrastructure can’t keep up with the growth, as the costs are in the billions, and nobody likes when the powers that be raise taxes, but the beach is at additional disadvantages. Aside from the obvious downhill water flow, and proximity to the lake, we have a system that simply can’t take the sheer volume of water. Aside from the filtration plant and back out, there’s nowhere for it to go. It gets pumped or run out of our homes, into the drains and ground, and right back into our basements.
Drains have a lifespan, so they will eventually have to be replaced due to wear-and-tear, tree roots or for some other reason. The city will grant some funding to replace pipes on city property, but only when there’s a problem- they aren’t in the business of preventative replacement. One politician, on live television at the time, insisted that a homeowner wouldn’t be responsible for the cost of flooding issues in her home, but she got a phone call later that night telling her that it was all for the cameras. Gotta love politicians.
The problems aren’t limited to the older homes though- the charming little neighbourhood between Woodbine and Kingston, Queen and Lakeshore, not the best place to build three-story homes. The homes were essentially built on what the plumbers referred to as ‘table’ or ground water. The land is at such a level that it is practically a dry(ISH) extension of the lake itself. — By Melissa Peters
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