A Spallumcheen couple wants what they call an inadequate culvert in front of their Thomas Hayes Road home replaced by the township.
Nora and Louis Fulop have also asked Spallumcheen council to compensate them for significant damage to their home, the result, say the Fulops, from spring run-off that had nowhere to go after the culvert got plugged up.
“Since we moved here in 2003, we have tried to be good citizens and keep the culvert open during the annual spring run-off,” wrote the Fulops in a three-page letter they mailed and presented in-person to council. “We feel the culvert in front of our home is not adequate to deal with all of the spring run-off.”
The Fulops explained that the usual flow of water through the culvert began on March 17 as temperatures warmed up, and that every year the couple keeps the ice and debris from building up and plugging the culvert.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Louis kept clearing the ice and debris throughout the afternoon and evening, last checking the culvert at 11 p.m. before going to bed, and noted things “were flowing well.”
At 5 a.m. on March 18, the Fulops awoke to a noise they couldn’t identify, which turned out to be their home’s basement sump pump.
“We have three steps leading down from the kitchen and bedroom area,” said Nora. “When I stepped off the last step into the dark, I found the living room was flooded and the water was flowing into the adjoining room and almost to the back door.”
Louis then raced outside and found the entire front lawn flood and water flowing over a stone wall along the driveway and into the breezeway between the garage and house.
The Fulops said the water was to the front door and into part of the garage; the water in the front of the house was up to the base of the living room window.
“Louie quickly ran to the culvert by the road,” said Nora. “It was plugged with ice and debris, and consequently flooding the entire front lawn as well as going around the side of the house.”
Louis unplugged the culvert and punched a hole through the stone wall to release some of the water off the front lawn.
Inside the Fulop home, Nora was busy moving furniture and lamps off the floor. When they checked their basement, they discovered water was up to the second step from the top. The sump pump, they said, was continually trying to function under all the water.
The Fulops got a sump pump from a neighbour and hooked it up to try and clear the basement, and also started bailing water with five-gallon pails until they could get an industrial size sump pump and water vac when a rental company opened at 7:30 a.m.
The Fulop’s furnace was under water, as was their water softener and hot water tank. Empty jars, sealers and a few food items were also under water.
Their floors were ruined, they ripped up the oak in their living room, removed baseboards, some gyprock and insulation. Their large area rug in the living room and carpet in the next room was ruined.
Eleven days after the flood, the Fulops said their house “still stinks” even with two industrial size fans and a dehumidifier running. Flooded areas were sprayed for mold and any harmful pathogens.
The Fulops explained to council that they had to put in a claim with their insurance company, but were told the insurance would not be covered because “there was no clear entrance of the water into the house.”
“We now find ourselves in a situation we never thought would happen,” said the Fulops, who are seeking compensation for their losses, and a bigger culvert “so we never have to deal with this type of situation again.’
Spallumcheen public works manager Ed Forslund sympathized with the Fulops.
He told council the matter has been turned over to the township’s insurance company, and that an adjuster has been assigned to the matter.
With that Mayor Will Hansma told the Fulops that while he was sorry for the situation, it would now be a matter council would discuss in-camera at the next council meeting.