Watch above: More finger pointing in Saskatoon council chambers today as councillors reviewed a report about an east-side slope failure. Wendy Winiewski says residents firmly believe the city should accept some responsibility in the remediation of the area.
City calls Nutana slope failure ‘unpredictable’
Slope failure impacting real estate
City meets with residents affected by riverbank slope
SASKATOON – Nutana neighrbourhood homeowners impacted by a slope failure along the South Saskatchewan River are voicing new accusations against the City of Saskatoon. Wednesday was the first opportunity for city councillors to speak with area residents after a damning report was released last week.
Kent Rathwell, his wife and their two children were uprooted last year. Downhill from 11th Street, a slope failure affecting homeowners forced the family from their Saskatchewan Crescent home.
“The slope is already over the deck, our roof of our garage; it’s already crushed the railings there,” said Kent Rathwell.
He believes immediate action is required, speculating his home will be gone within a year without it.
Rathwell spoke to city councillors on behalf of affected residents. The group says the city has a financial obligation in remediation efforts and also believes the city is partially to blame for the situation.
“The city has a storm water system whereby we pay taxes for them to maintain them to a reasonable fashion and allow them to take rain fall off our properties and run it through the storm water system to a safe place, and that hasn’t been happening,” said Rathwell.
READ MORE: Homeowners say Saskatoon shirking responsibility for slope repair
A report by Golder and Associates recommends two options: re-grading the slope which would require moving homes and cost between $6 and $10 million or stabilizing the slope with concrete or rock at a cost between $10 and $20 million.
Who will pay for it is still on the table but the city says it’s storm water system is not to blame.
“It’s like an eye dropper in the ocean, literally,” said Andrew Hildebrandt, the city’s storm water utility manager.
“The three factors leading to slope failure are ground water, geology and geometry.”
The city has applied to have the issue covered under the provincial disaster assistance program but the request was denied. With neither the city or the homeowners wanting to foot the bill, Ward 6 Coun. Charlie Clark suggests asking the province a second time.
“Normally, when there are issues of natural disasters, when there are issues on private property, it’s the provincial government that intervenes,” said Clark.
Council will make a decision at its March meeting.