Localized flooding in Cheadle is causing headaches for some of its residents.
Mike and Cathy Hayes appeared at Wheatland County council’s March 7 meeting to share details of how, in the past 12 years, residents have been battling flooding in properties adjacent to the hamlet of Cheadle development. They said four houses were built in the approved development when subsequent flooding problems began.
The Hayeses, under their business of Wheatland Auction Services, invoiced the county for $11,400 to cover lost property use and cleanup due to flooding caused on their property by upstream development activity. They hoped the action would motivate the county to deal with the flooding issues. They said they felt landowners should not have to pay for the costs, when the county and developers have a responsibility to deal with the water management issues.
The Hayeses said they felt victimized by the county and developer, whom they allege have not stepped up to fix the ongoing flooding problems that occurred after approval for the Cheadle development. Currently there is an investigation into water matters in the area by Alberta Environment.
“We have been flooding. We are continuing to flood and we will continue to flood unless someone takes ownership and responsibility based on the scenes I will prove to you,” said Cathy Hayes.
The couple showed council photographs of flood damage, before and after development at Cheadle. The Hayeses said they approached the county with their recent flooding problems and offered staff permission to work on the property; however, staff could not comply because it was private property.
When the Hayeses tried to rectify the problem themselves by installing two new culverts, the county issued a stop work order and referred the issue to Alberta Environment.
“We had tried to take care of the flooding ourselves, because the county refused to help,” said Cathy. “We started and were shut down.”
She added that with the completion of a second culvert, it might have dealt with the problem. Freezing in the half-finished project is again creating flooding for the Hayeses and neighbouring properties.
“We aren’t worried about the water flow in the summer time. It is the winter water that no one wants to claim that is causing the effect,” said Mike Hayes.
Cathy Hayes said that in 2016, a WID representative stated to them that the Cheadle development had increased water flow.
County staff said legal advice was necessary to determine county responsibility and subsequent course of action in the matter.
“There is much information, many, many dates and many things that have occurred on this. I suggest that further communication on this is not going to take us to where we want to go,” said Jim Laslo, Wheatland County’s general manager of agriculture, community and protective services.
County staff had met with the Hayeses, visited the flood site and discussed ways to remediate circumstances related to the watercourses, and deal with an artesian well flow that wasn’t mentioned on early engineering reports.
Recommendations included: council does not accept responsibility for invoice forwarded by the Hayeses; conduct a legal review of all documents, plans and photos of the master plan, and determine council’s responsibility for flooding and the artesian flow; transfer funds for legal opinion from Wheatland County operating reserve.
The area in question involves 58.02 acres, and professional engineering documents were done in 2001, 2002 and 2008. The 2001-2002 study report noted an existing drainage system that connects with the major drainage system connecting to the Hartell coulee.
Council agreed to consult legal advice and bring back initial decisions on the matter to the March 14 council meeting.
On March 28, from 4 to 7 p.m., a second Cheadle Area Structure Plan open house will be held at the Cheadle Hall, and the draft master storm drainage plan will be presented for public input.