The owners of four Valleyview homes and some neighbouring condos want the City to fix the storm sewer system so they don't have to mop up after another freak rainstorm.
Dale Byford said Monday his Curlew Place home and two or three others, plus the condominiums behind them, saw their yards swamped with water after last Thursday's intense rainfall.
Their yards and basements were fine after the rain subsided, but filled up as water backed up in the storm water system and flooded out of a sewer hole on nearby Glenwood, he said.
Four days later, they are still soaking up water from their basements, because their yards were so saturated from the storm water it keeps seeping through.
Byford's wife Charlene said they called the City several times Thursday when they saw what was happening, and again Friday. In short, they were told there was nothing the City could do. It's private property and it will be up to their insurance agent to handle their case.
The Curlew Place residents don't buy that, entirely. Their cul-de-sac has a City sanitary sewer hole in the middle of the road, but no storm sewer access anywhere nearby.
So even when they were trying to pump out their basements, they had nowhere to direct the water except each others' yards.
Charlene Byford said they were up all night Thursday trying to keep the water at bay. Finally, Friday morning, she made a tearful plea to a sewage pumping company that came and took 12,000 gallons of water out of her back yard.
Neighbours Maggie Knox and Eric Shishido had similar problems with their yard. So did Jim Forbes, who wasn't home when the water swamped the yard, but his sons tried to block it from seeping through the front door.
Their yards are still mushy in spots and the ground feels heavy with dampness underfoot.
Lyle Piller lives in the condos behind their homes. He said there was four feet of water in the common courtyard Thursday. Units 33 to 40 had water coming up through the patios.
The neighbours made a flurry of calls to the media and the mayor Monday.
"We just want to have it dealt with so it doesn't happen again," said Knox.
As they were talking with the Daily News in the afternoon, City operations manager Chris Jackson arrived. He listened, went through their yards, looked at still-wet basements and noted where the problem storm sewer is located.
Jackson told the homeowners the City would look at the pipework, whether there was anything plugging the storm sewers like rocks or debris and do a dye test to detect other problems.
"With something like this, it hits so fast, there's not much you can do," he said.
And there's little the homeowners can do now, except let the water make its way through the soil, he said.
He urged them to call their insurance agents and get them working on their cases.
The City looked at the storm drains around James Western Star, which was also left under water following the rain. Drains there were found to be plugged with debris, he said.
The City cleans out catchbasins on a regular basis, but there are parts of town vulnerable to sudden, heavy dumps of rain, like Valleyview and Brocklehurst, Jackson said.
City risk manager Terry Pile said the wet spring, river flooding and sudden rainfall all contributed to the overwhelmed storm system.
"The City's storm sewer system can only manage so much," he said.
The residents can pursue claims against the City. But with sudden rain events, there's little that the municipality can do with the pipes that are in place.
"Hopefully people's insurance policies will respond. And staff are checking on the infrastructure. We'll get a report on utilities staff on assessment and inspections," he said.
Insurance might help down the road, but Charlene Byward looked at the hot blue sky and pointed to a large, dark cloud moving overhead.
"That's what scares me," she said.