Monday, February 06, 2006

How not to build in the Don

"Fix This!" Homeowner's plaint at top of retaining wall.

The picture shows a construction site on the west side of Bayview just north of Queen St. East. The site under construction is for a new car dealership. The townhouses shown are on a street called Old Primrose Lane. They were built a couple of years ago. Personally I think it is a dubious spot as the level at which they were built means that they needed a 10 metre high retaining wall at the eastern edge of the property. Still the residents do have an engineering report showing that the wall was stable. Furthermore I don't feel sorry for the residents because it wasn't as if they were buying these houses without knowing about the retaining wall.

What happened next was that when the construction started on the adjacent property, they started putting in the foundations. As they worked close to the base of the retaining wall they came across a large boulder that was impeding their work. When they removed it, this caused the retaining wall to buckle. The ground behind the wall started to shift and that's when the problems started. The city was called in and they ordered a large pile of fill to be placed against the retaining wall to prevent it from shifting further.

Since then both sides have dug their heels in blaming the other for the problem. Even local councillor Pam McConnell tried to reconcile the two sides but didn't get anywhere. I suppose now it's up to the courts.

My take on it is that this is or was part of the floodplain of the Don. The underground hydrology in this area is complex and may contain hidden water channels that aren't readily apparent from the surface. So when you build something on top of it you can't always be sure that these ancient pathways which are still active won't affect things down the road. So my caveat is - don't build on a floodplain. The river will always do its own thing regardless of what the works of man tries to do to change it.

All the gory details can be viewed in this local news article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting what Google picks up. This was my sisters house that was affected by this.