Thunder Bay flood victims worry over infrastructure

Residents of one Thunder Bay neighbourhood hit hard by last May's flooding had a lot of questions for city officials Thursday night.

Northwood residents press city over timeline, survey, questionnaires

Northwood area residents were among the hardest hit during May's flooding. They questioned city representatives about infrastructure improvements and repairs during a Thursday night meeting. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

Residents of a Thunder Bay ward that was hit hard by last May's flooding had a lot of questions for city officials Thursday night.

The city held a ward meeting in Northwood to address ongoing concerns about infrastructure in the area.

More than 100 people filled the auditorium at Grandview Lodge to get an update on a city-commissioned third-party study related to stormwater drainage.

Joseph Kane wanted to know why people aren't being consulted directly: "I would have expected them to come around individually and say ‘y'know, Mr. Kane, did you have a problem?"

Questionnaires were planned when the city announced the study for three areas of Thunder Bay that were badly flooded after a May 28th rainstorm.

But City Manager Tim Commisso told people at the meeting the questionnaires are not possible right now because applications have been filed for class-action lawsuits against the city. Commisso wouldn't comment further on what  that meant.

Even without the questionnaires, the drainage study is still going ahead, said Pat Mauro, the manager of engineering.

"We will be reviewing the areas in terms of surface drainage," he noted. "We'll incorporate some of that information into our designs."

Mauro said the entire study will be completed in August of next year, with an interim report expected in February.

Thunder Bay resident Maria Cole said she worries about future flooding and if it will affect her home. She is still waiting on repairs to be done to her basement following May's damaging rainstorm in the city. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

‘We’re not going away’

However, one resident said she's worried about the timing of infrastructure improvements once the study is done.

"We've got another spring and summer that's coming along the way," Maria Cole said.

"We really don't want to be sitting here with a brand new basement — when it does get fixed — [and wonder]  do we want to go out of town?"

She added "I hope that [council and administration are] hearing us, and knowing that we're not going away."

The three areas the storm water drainage study is examining are Northwood, the East End and the Intercity area.

Notices of class-action lawsuits totalling $800 million have been filed against the City of Thunder Bay related to the flooding.