Campbell River Mirror

Holly Hills residents are being flooded out

Katie Denne wades through the high water that has flooded parts of her family farm in the Holly Hills area, near Campbellton. Denne appealed to city council on Tuesday for help. - Kristen Douglas/Mirror file photo
Katie Denne wades through the high water that has flooded parts of her family farm in the Holly Hills area, near Campbellton. Denne appealed to city council on Tuesday for help.
— image credit: Kristen Douglas/Mirror file photo

Holly Hills residents told council Tuesday night they are struggling to stay above water and pleaded with city officials to fix drainage problems in the area.

Katie Denne, a young farmer trying to save her family farm from flooding, appeared before council looking for answers as to why her property is the sponge for the entire Holly Hills neighbourhood.

“We’ve been witnessing acres upon acres of our family farm disappearing,” Denne said. “My question is ‘why?’ Why must Holly Hill Farm be a sponge?”

Denne’s 16.2 acre property, which she and husband Kyle purchased in November 2011, is situated near the base of hilly Park Road, on Ida Road.

The farm is bordered by Park Road on one side and Woodburn Road on the other. Water from the Holly Hills subdivision flows down through a culvert on Park Road and drains into a 10-foot wide creek on Denne’s farm which cuts through her property.

It’s supposed to flow through to the ditch on Woodburn Road, but the ditch is clogged and the water isn’t moving. Instead, it’s sitting on Denne’s property, and flooding her land.

“Holly Hill Farm is being washed away,” Denne said. “This inhibits the growth of our pasture grasses (and) our 50-year-old poplar trees have drowned and died.”

The farm has been in Denne’s family for three generations and was built by her grandfather in the 1950s.

Denne recalls the farm hosting barrel racing, and horseback rides for the neighbourhood kids. The gardens were plentiful and bright.

Denne dreams of restoring the farm to its former glory and would like to grow fresh meat and vegetables for the community, and run a general store right on the property.

She and her husband would also like to build a house on the property so they can live on site.

Up the hill from Denne lives Richard Paquette, on Spring Road.

Paquette, who has spoken to council numerous times about ditching, said when the city came to clean out the ditches along Spring Road in the summertime, they didn’t complete the work.

“They didn’t continue up Spring Road, they stopped where the two culverts are,” Paquette said.

“The whole part they cleaned they did a good job (but) they cleaned three-quarters of Spring Road; they should get three-quarters of my taxes. When they finish it they can get the rest of my taxes. They should come back and finish the job.”

Paquette said the water levels in the ditches are so high that he can’t even see the culverts.

He said last winter two people drowned in a ditch on Woodburn after their car flipped because the water was so high.

City staff told council that during budget planning next week it will be submitting a $150,000 capital project to widen and deepen the ditches on Woodburn Road, starting this summer if approved.

Coun. Claire Moglove asked if it would include a re-routing and installation of storm drains or if it would be mostly maintenance.

Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, said it would be the bare minimum.

“Basically a maintenance exercise – the ditches cleaned and the culverts cleaned,” he said.

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