John Brian Currie (left) and his father John Currie Sr. say that property flooding on Diamond Street has been an issue for at least five years, with temporary solutions attempted but never solving the underlying drainage issue. Nina Grossman/The Observer

Harrison backyards flooded by river water

Residents feel development, carelessness to blame for flooding

A lack of proper drainage has caused the yards of at least three Harrison homes along Diamond Street to flood.

One resident, John Brian Currie recently moved into a home on Diamond to take care of his father, 88-year-old veteran John Currie Sr.

Currie is baffled by what he says is a case of neglect on the part of the the Village of Harrison.

Sitting on the front porch with his father, rain clouds loom above his now-underwater vegetable garden.

“The probability of flooding was addressed long beforehand, but ignored,” Currie says. “Dad needs my help [and] I can’t help him out very much when I’m this stressed out.”

According to John Sr., the first time his property flooded was around 2012 when development on the adjacent property impacted drainage for his home.

The Village of Harrison’s Chief Administrative Officer Madeline McDonald says the flooding could be attributed to changing building regulations.

“[Diamond Street] is an older subdivision and a lot of those properties…are actually built below the flood levels,” she says. “So they are subject to flooding in highwater events like we’ve had.”

McDonald says the property developed adjacent to Currie’s had to be elevated above the flood plane as per provincial requirements.

“We don’t allow properties to be built below the flood level anymore,” she says.

According to Currie the flooding has been an ongoing issue, and has even impacted his livelihood. The last flood destroyed a set of electronic tools he had left at his father’s home for safekeeping and this time around, his vegetable gardens are beyond repair, sitting under at least a foot and a half of muddy river water.

“My ability to take care of the property is impacted,” he says. “There is a signifcant possibility for me to get back into the workforce down the road. Without my tools I don’t have a headstart because, I don’t have any money. My main thing is to be here and take care of [my] dad but all my worms got killed [and] my gardening destroyed.”

John Sr. remembers when his property sat on literal higher ground. He says construction on neighboring properties was halted more than once to prevent the flooding that is occuring now.

“I’m really quite angry,” he says. “It would have saved everybody a hell of a lot of money if they had [done] things properly to start with.”

Currie has gone to the Village to request action.

“This property sat without flooding ever in its original state,” he says. “If somebody wants to change something they have to accomodate the fact that it needs to stay drained in perpetuity. You may not interfere with your neighbour’s property.”

“And it’s for the sake of greed and it’s been done with incompetence,” he adds. “Most likely they have a plan to hook the drainage up down the road but what does that do to solve the problem now?”

McDonald says contract engineers have been contacted and she plans to have them out to the property while it’s still in its “highwater state.”

“We’re going to have to have an expert look at it to see what, if anything, we can do to help those property owners,” she says.

John Brian Currie says improper drainage caused by development has damaged his tools, garden and his father’s property. Nina Grossman/The Observer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: A bribe at worst, dangerous at best

Min Wendel of Agassiz condemns the development push for Teacup

School board OK’s sports medicine course

Approves 2020-2021 calendar during March meeting

Honk if you’re in Harrison

Despite COVID-19 restrictions in place, flights flagrantly disregard the rules and are… Continue reading

LETTER: Shades of gray in Teacup debate

Laurens Van Vliet of Agassiz has mixed thoughts about the exclusion application

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read