Calgary's freeze-thaw cycle turns some homes into lakefront property

The City of Calgary is getting swamped with 311 calls from residents who are frustrated by flooding streets and enormous ice ruts from frozen stormwater drains.

311 is receiving more than 300 calls a day about frozen culverts

Calgary's annual freeze-thaw cycle is flooding some streets, like this one in Coventry Hills. (Dave Will/CBC)

The City of Calgary is getting swamped with 311 calls from residents who are frustrated by flooding streets and enormous ice ruts from frozen stormwater drains. 

Chelsea Chester said she wasn't able to move her car for a week, thanks to the massive, calf-deep pool of water on the street in front of her Coventry Hills home.

"It's been a complete nightmare getting in and out," Chester said. "Nobody can even park in the area."

Chester said residents on her street have made more than 50 calls to the city in the past week, but nobody has come to help.

She said she was told the flooding wasn't a high priority, because the residential street is not a high-traffic area.

Chelsea Chester said she wasn't able to move her car for a week, due to the flooding on her front street. (Dave Will/CBC)

The city's head of wastewater and snow water collection, Corey Colbran, admits it's been hard to keep up with calls to 311 up 191 per cent.

"We haven't quite hit the record for number of calls yet, but we're getting close I think," Colbran said.

Colbran's department handles 60,000 catch basins across the city.

He said calls to 311 go through a triage system, where they are ranked in terms of priority. Waits for non-emergency calls can take up to a month — and likely in those cases, nature might have run its course before the city steps in.

"There needs to be an understanding that each day we're getting potentially 300 calls or more," Colbran said.

With more warmer weather predicted for the weekend, flooded streets like this one in Calgary are only likely to get worse. (Dave Will/CBC)

But, he did want to thank the public for their patience and offer people a tip if they want their issue to get noticed.

"What we're really encouraging people to do is, as they call 311 with these issues, send a picture, or make sure they're attaching a picture to what they're sending to 311, because a picture really is worth a thousand words, it helps us with the triage of aligning those things."

Chester said she just hopes someone from the city will respond, and soon.

"If they could get a truck down here and help get rid of some of this, ice is wrecking peoples cars … get a truck that can pump some of the water out … some help would be appreciated," she said.

With files from CBC's Dave Will