Saanich resident Bob Crosby looks over the ravines gouged out by water from water main break on Thanksgiving Monday. It caused flooding in Crosby’s house. Crosby and his wife are currently staying at an AirBnB as renovations expected to last six weeks continue. Wolf Depner / News Staff

Saanich couple assess damage from Thanksgiving flood

Bob and Debbie Crosby were visiting their granddaughter in Calgary when flood happened

“Oh, not again.”

That is how Bob Crosby reacted when he and his wife Debbie heard that their house on Lochside Drive had flooded when a nearby water main broke in the morning hours of Thanksgiving Day.

The couple were visiting their two children and their one-week-old granddaughter in Calgary, when their strata manager called them up to tell them that water had entered their bungalow-style home purchased in 2011. Two years ago, the couple had to replace the flooring in their living and dining room after a perimeter drainage pipe had burst.

But the more recent break was far more serious. Some 10,000 gallons of water turned a stretch of Royal Oak Drive into a standing river that nonetheless drained down a walking path that connects Lochside Drive with Royal Oak Drive, running right past Crosby’s house.

Almost two weeks after the incident, you can still see the ravines that the water gouged out of the path on its way into Crosby’s house, aided by a downward-sloping topography and two grassy berms that helped to channel the water.

While on the scene of the water main break, Crosby’s strata management could not enter Crosby’s home. “They even asked the police, and they said “No, unless it is a life-threatening emergency, we can’t open the door.’”

Fortunately, Crosby had an accessible spare key that eventually allowed access to the house. “That really saved us, because the restoration company [Belfor Restoration] was here [Monday],” he said.

“They started drying everything up,” said Crosby. “The damage could have been far worse, if they hadn’t been right on it,” he said, adding he is every pleased with the work of the restorers.

Still, the damage appears bad enough, as two inches of water pooled in some parts of the house. “All flooring is being replaced except for the ceramic tiles,” he said. Contractors are also replacing almost every piece of drywall two feet off the ground, he added. “It [the water] didn’t quite come to every wall, but it touched every room, and they say anything that the water touches has to go. They consider it black water, even though it started in a water main. It’s not safe.”

The value of the damage appears unclear at this point. Questions concerning responsibility and future liabilities also remain unanswered, he said. “It’s probably going to take a while to resolve that,” he said. “It’s not going to slow anything down,” he said. “They’ll do all the work, and they’ll figure out who will pay later.”

What about the stress and uncertainty that this incident has caused?

“Surprisingly, it hasn’t bothered us too much,” he said. “I don’t know why. Maybe because we have gone through it before, and we just sort of roll with the punches.”

In fact, Crosby’s attitude is downright positive. “The good news is we are getting new floors out of this, we get to do it the way we want it,” he said. “We are going to do a little bit of renovations at the same time, and pay the difference. So it will be an even nicer place when it is finished.”

 

Sections of Royal Oak Drive flooded Monday morning after a 16-inch water main broke. The road remains closed as District of Saanich crews determine the cause the break. Some 10,000 gallons of water flooded the area, causing “localized flooding” in an unknown number of homes. Wolf Depner / News Staff Sections of Royal Oak Drive flooded Thanksgiving morning after a 16-inch water main broke. Some 10,000 gallons of water flooded the area. Wolf Depner / News Staff

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