Kelowna woman blames developer for 'swimming pool of water' in her house

A Kelowna, B.C., woman blames a developer who cut down 'hundreds of trees' for leaving her property at risk of spring runoff and flooding.

Flooding began last week at property located below new Kirschner Mountain subdivision

Donna Greer stands in her backyard where she says water came down last week, eroding her property and pooling underneath her deck. (Christina Low/ CBC)

For the last week, Donna Greer has been pumping water out of her Kelowna, B.C., home.

She first noticed the flooding at her house in the city's Black Mountain area last Thursday night.

"My dad went down to his bedroom in the basement and basically stepped into a swimming pool of water," she said.

"That's when we first discovered that something was amiss. The problem kind of escalated from there."

She says they spent the night pumping out water using Shop-Vacs and digging trenches, but the flooding continued to get worse, pooling underneath her deck.

"We basically had a waterfall running down my backyard, kind of all directed right at my house," she said.

Developer blames high snowpack

The flooding has since slowed, but has eroded her yard and heavily damaged drywall and flooring, she says.

Greer lives at the bottom of a slope downhill from a new Kirschner Mountain subdivision and she wonders if the developer is partially to blame for cutting down "hundreds of trees" on the hillside.

"They are taking some responsibility. I think they realize that part of the problem is from some of the work that they've done," she said.

Greer says the flooding caused extensive damage to her home's flooring and drywall. (Christina Low/ CBC)

Al Kirschner, the developer of the housing project, blames the unusually high snowpack and late melt.

"It's all coming off all at once. We've just got more water up there than the ground can absorb right now," he said.

'Would have still had that problem'

Kirschner has sent in crews to build dugouts and trenches around Greer's property, but he denies his development is the sole cause of the flooding.

"Regardless of whether we did a subdivision or not, and had taken the trees off, I think we would have still had that problem ... the ground slopes towards her property," said Kirschner.

"Had she phoned us when she first had the problem, she probably wouldn't have [had] as much of a problem."

Greer said her insurance only covers a small portion of the damage to her home and she will be seeking financial compensation.

"Financially at this point, I don't know what we might be able to expect," said Greer.

"In my opinion the City is the one that hands out the permits to these developers, they should be on top of what's going on, making sure things are done properly."

City has received multiple calls

The City of Kelowna says it has received multiple calls about groundwater and surface flooding this week, including at least six reports from Greer's neighbourhood.

"We're trying to determine if it's naturally occurring or if there are development-related impacts," said James Kay, the city's development engineering manager.

"The development has removed trees and vegetation, but they have also introduced containment structures to catch runoff."

"They are exercising diligence right now and we're watching it very closely."

With files from CBC's Daybreak South and Christina Low.