Why do people build houses that get flooded?

Terris
Generalissimo Postalot
Posts: 921
Joined: Apr 18th, 2014, 10:55 am

Re: Why do people build houses that get flooded?

Post by Terris »

Anyone who grew up here you can tell you that there have been a lot of changes to the layout of Kelowna since the 1950's and 60's. People who are new here can't really be blamed for their lack of Kelowna history but they really should have dodged the realtor/sales talking guys and done some research.

It's pretty evident that planning department of Kelowna either doesn't care about the flood problems (buyers beware), has lost pertinent geodata or they're just "wingin' it".

Creeks and tributaries of Mission Creek and Mill Creek were filled in when the Greenway dike was built, and the natural floodplain was deemed to have been brought "under control" back in the 60's and 70's, and the development free-for-all began.

Problem is; those creeks and tributaries are still flowing underground. They weren't sealed or redirected from their natural courses. It's only a matter of time before sinkholes start opening up, as some already have around Orchard Park.

Glenmore is another example of overzealous land development resulting in sinkhole problems. North Glenmore was best suited for orchards. There "was" several feet of topsoil on top of a hard pan clay layer and several creeks seasonally flowed into Brandt's creek from the highlands above.

When I grew up there all houses were being built along the slope of the valley and even those required an extra sized lot below for septic fields. No houses were built in the center of the valley close to Brandt's Creek (other than a few farmhouses) because the clay was unsuitable for foundations.

After the city put in a sewage line, the area was once again deemed under control and the development free-for all began out there. Developers decided (sic) the city council to, not only revert these orchard lands from the ALR, but allow mass building of houses on the valley bottomland

Countless homeowners there are now likely regretting not checking on the history of the Glenmore area before purchasing a house with a foundation sitting in a clay bed.

Point being...

1. A lot has changed here.

2. A lot of developers have profited from those changes.

3. A lot of valuable engineering data was either not duly and diligently done prior to development or has been lost or "misplaced" during the development approval process.

4. A lot of this misplaced data would have stopped developers from their profiterering.

5. These floodplain issues are only going to get worse because the proper engineering was not done in the first place. The underlying geologic conditions still exist. A high runoff and water table keeps the floodplain saturated.

6. It's the doom of men, that they forget.
bob vernon
Lord of the Board
Posts: 3689
Joined: Oct 27th, 2008, 10:37 am

Re: Why do people build houses that get flooded?

Post by bob vernon »

Municipal politics in the Okanagan (I hate to keep bringing this up, but it's so true) has been about zoning and land use for decades. Developers get their people put into office and get their zoning to develop. Doesn't matter if it's Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, or any of the regional districts or towns. The development candidates run on any issue, but they're backed by development cash.

Once elected, developers get their land zoned for residential and build like crazy. And water and sewer lines somehow get built to those new developments, often with the taxpayer-at-large funding a big chunk through increased water and sewer rates.

If developers clear the forest off a steep slope and the mud comes down, the mayor and councilors are there to shield the developer. Drainage ditches and sewers cost money and hurt the bottom line. So the lowest standards possible are enforced. On the lakefronts and along the streams, where the value of houses is the greatest, the pressure to get that zoning is highest and mayor and council don't want to stand in the way of progress, do they. Besides, the developers will just line up another candidate next election to get the job done.

To answer the question of the original thread "Why do people build houses that get flooded?" Developer friendly councils give the rezoning. Developers build those houses, people don't. Corrupt? There's never any proof, but there's always a bad smell when some of these rezonings take place.
Grandan
Grand Pooh-bah
Posts: 2576
Joined: Aug 14th, 2007, 4:05 pm

Re: Why do people build houses that get flooded?

Post by Grandan »

Terris wrote:Anyone who grew up here you can tell you that there have been a lot of changes to the layout of Kelowna since the 1950's and 60's. People who are new here can't really be blamed for their lack of Kelowna history but they really should have dodged the realtor/sales talking guys and done some research.

It's pretty evident that planning department of Kelowna either doesn't care about the flood problems (buyers beware), has lost pertinent geodata or they're just "wingin' it".

Creeks and tributaries of Mission Creek and Mill Creek were filled in when the Greenway dike was built, and the natural floodplain was deemed to have been brought "under control" back in the 60's and 70's, and the development free-for-all began.

Problem is; those creeks and tributaries are still flowing underground. They weren't sealed or redirected from their natural courses. It's only a matter of time before sinkholes start opening up, as some already have around Orchard Park.

Glenmore is another example of overzealous land development resulting in sinkhole problems. North Glenmore was best suited for orchards. There "was" several feet of topsoil on top of a hard pan clay layer and several creeks seasonally flowed into Brandt's creek from the highlands above.

When I grew up there all houses were being built along the slope of the valley and even those required an extra sized lot below for septic fields. No houses were built in the center of the valley close to Brandt's Creek (other than a few farmhouses) because the clay was unsuitable for foundations.

After the city put in a sewage line, the area was once again deemed under control and the development free-for all began out there. Developers decided (sic) the city council to, not only revert these orchard lands from the ALR, but allow mass building of houses on the valley bottomland

Countless homeowners there are now likely regretting not checking on the history of the Glenmore area before purchasing a house with a foundation sitting in a clay bed.

Point being...

1. A lot has changed here.

2. A lot of developers have profited from those changes.

3. A lot of valuable engineering data was either not duly and diligently done prior to development or has been lost or "misplaced" during the development approval process.

4. A lot of this misplaced data would have stopped developers from their profiterering.

5. These floodplain issues are only going to get worse because the proper engineering was not done in the first place. The underlying geologic conditions still exist. A high runoff and water table keeps the floodplain saturated.

6. It's the doom of men, that they forget.

To your points:
1. A lot has changed everywhere not just Kelowna.
2. Developers have profited but so have builders, suppliers and homeowners who are thankful for the opportunity to live in a modern home.
3. Engineering data generally does not disappear, it is maintained in the archives of the engineering consultants and if they are prudent, the developers who ordered and paid for those studies have also maintained copies of them.
4. Rubbish
5. There are likely cases where the engineering was ignored or simply was not employed at all and that can be said for thousands of scenarios around the globe.
6.Thankfully we do learn and those lessons are applied to the next people to come along because people need to be protected from themselves, that is why there is regulation and it is cumulative.
Developers provide land for homes for people and compete in an open market. Developers are teams of people who all get paid a portion for their efforts, it is not a single person who gets to eat the whole cake. It is more likely that buyers of homes made more money off the resale of those homes than was ever made by a developer
Waste not

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