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Bad culverts to be removed

A controversial policy that will result in the removal of privately-installed culverts along roadways in Fort Erie was enacted into bylaw Monday night.

Not all culverts will be targeted — only those that interfere with proper drainage or are in the area of a municipal construction project on the road allowance.

A number of culverts — officially called “ditch infills” — were removed from properties last fall during drainage construction in Crescent Park.

They had been installed by property owners over the years to improve their yards, but they contribute to flooding and sewage discharges into Lake Erie, according to town staff.

“Someone who has a culvert won’t be happy to have a ditch dug,” said councillor Tim Whitfield at the previous meeting when the staff recommendations were discussed.

“Allowing people to put pipes in a ditch only causes problems for other people,” said public works director Ron Tripp.

As well as being less effective, many culverts are poorly installed or made from substandard material. Even the metal shells of water heaters have even been used as culverts, the staff report states.

Many of the complaints are related to esthetic appeal and hazards for lawn mowing, traffic and pedestrians, but the ditches meet provincial standards, Tripp said.

“The water’s going to be in the ditch or in your basement — or your neighbours basement,” said Mayor Doug Martin.

Whitfield said ditches might be better but might not be necessary if the outlets were improved.

“It’s fine to have a clear ditch,” said Whitfield, “but we need to have the outlets at the end of the ditches.”

Councillor Sandy Annunziata said esthetics must be respected. “Let’s do nothing to downgrade what they have and put unpleasing ditches in front of their homes.”

Steckley broke the tie to approve the recommendations with councillors Ann-Marie Noyes and Rick Shular voting against.

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  1. George Jardine | Sep 9, 2010 | Reply

    The ditches that Tripp loves so much are death traps we lost a man in a wheelchair who drowned in a ditch a few years back this perceived problem could be solved by adopting a sensible logical standard the ditches in Black Creek could swallow up a small car.

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