Crabapple Creek flood mitigation could be delayed until spring 

Two years after flood, homeowner fears the worst

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - Working overtime John Murphy estimates he's put about 700 hours into fixing his basement after it flooded two years ago.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis
  • Working overtime John Murphy estimates he's put about 700 hours into fixing his basement after it flooded two years ago.

As Whistler heads into the fall, most minds are on the impending winter season and the opening of the mountain.

John Murphy's thoughts are somewhere out behind his house, and the water flowing through Crabapple Creek.

"All spring and summer I've just been waiting for people to come in here and start doing whatever channelling work they're supposed to do, or get that trail raised," Murphy said.

"At the very least, I would have expected to see some surveyors or something. There's been nothing. I haven't seen anything."

In December 2014, Murphy's home was one of those affected by flooding on Crabapple Creek. A heavy rainfall event caused the creek to jump its banks before funnelling directly into Murphy's yard and filling his basement.

Damages were initially estimated at about $100,000.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) held an open house last October to present different flood mitigation options for Crabapple Creek and the Tapley's neighbourhood, and a preferred option was chosen by council last November.

But the design work on Crabapple Creek took longer than expected, and now there's a chance it won't get done until next spring.

"The thing that's killing me is I'm almost ready. I'm just at the stage where I'm painting. The last thing I need is another flood to come through," Murphy said.

Murphy estimates he's spent 600 to 700 hours and $30,000 fixing his basement since the flood.

"I can't afford to get contractors in, so I've had to do this myself," he said.

"So I've had to learn how to drywall, I've had to get electricians in to help me out, learning about subflooring, drywall, mudding — it's all these things that I can't afford," he said.

The work along Crabapple Creek requires the raising of a section of the Valley Trail so it will act as a dyke to protect the homes on Crabapple Drive, said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"We're hoping it will be completed this fall, but if the weather conditions are not favourable, it will have to wait until the spring, because part of the work requires repaving the Valley Trail and of course, that can't be done if the ground is frozen," she said.

With the design work now completed, all that's left is to get in there and do the work, but with winter fast approaching it's a race against time.

"If we don't get the work done this fall, we will have that corner of Crabapple Creek on our list of places to watch, and to immediately place sandbags if it looks like flooding is going to happen," Wilhelm-Morden said, adding that homeowners with questions can send them to engineers@whistler.ca.

"I think that (homeowners) can rest assured that we'll take every effort to keep their homes safe, and homeowners also are encouraged to do whatever they need to do on their own properties to flood-proof them, but if we have a heavy rain event or a big melt event, our crews will be down there watching."

The other part of the project — a flood channel on the west side of the railway tracks to allow flood waters to bypass the Tapley's neighbourhood — is expected to be completed by the end of October.

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