• John Jantak

Water issues dominate Ste. Anne’s council meeting


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A one-year study will be conducted to determine groundwater levels in the wooded fields behind Rue Aumais and Rue Vallée, announced Ste. Anne’s Mayor Paola Hawa at the Monday evening council meeting, November 20.

A one-year study will be conducted to determine groundwater levels to mitigate flooding problems in the North Sector of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, announced Mayor Paola Hawa during the Monday evening council meeting, November 20.

The study will take place in the wooded fields behind Rue Aumais and Rue Vallée. About 30 instruments known as piezometers, which are designed to measure the depth and elevation of ground water, were placed under the topsoil at specific locations throughout the woods.

Water table issues

Hawa said the area has had several continuous water-related issues in the past 20 years including water seepage into basements and bi-annual flooding of the Rivière à l’Orme. “The water level rises, which then goes into the water table in the forest. What we’re trying to identify now is where the highest volumes of water are in the water table,” Hawa told Your Local Journal.

“We’ve been at this for four years now trying to find solutions. The piezometers will identify when and where the water table rises and falls so that long-term solutions can be found. It will also determine where the highest water volumes are. This will be done over a one-year span and take each season into consideration,” Hawa added.

Ground water measurements

Hawa said the ongoing water problem could be partially caused because the developer may not have considered the impact the water table could have on homes when major residential construction in the area began more than 15 years ago. Hawa added the city only began addressing the issue during her first mandate after she was elected in November 2013.

“It’s been an ongoing issue even before then. The last mandate was the first one that even bothered attacking the issue instead of just accepting that this is the reality of living in this area. It’s a matter of identifying what the root cause of the problem is, where the main elements are and focusing on those. We’ve been at this for four years now. It’s something that was neglected before,” said Hawa.

Another issue that could be related to basement flooding is that some homeowners have their sewage drains connected to the rainwater drain, said Hawa. “This is illegal and it’s one of the reasons we’re redoing the connections on all the streets,” she said.

Tax revenue diverted

The ongoing water problem has also unnecessarily diverted tax revenue that could have been used elsewhere, said Hawa. “I would guess that with the money we’ve collected in taxes over the past 15 years since the area was built, we have spent more than what was collected just trying to resolve the water issue for the entire development,” said Hawa.

The issue also reinforces Hawa’s stance on minimizing development on environmentally sensitive land. “Let this be a lesson to be learned to everybody who was thinking of allowing a developer to build in a water-sensitive area.

Flood prevention study

The city will also conduct a study on how to better manage flood situations in the future after receiving a grant from the Natural Resources Canada that will enable the city to determine the vulnerability of its entire shoreline and consider new technologies that can be applied to reduce the risk of flooding, announced Mayor Hawa.

“Last May was our wake-up,” said Hawa referring to the heavy rain that flooded a large near the Ste. Anne’s Rapids north of Highway 20. “I’ve said since then that we need to find a solution. We were very good at prevention last year but we need to start thinking of different ways to protect ourselves and reduce the risk of property damage when these floods occur.”

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