Categories: Local News

Sewer upgrades a headache for Glenhaven residents

Sewer repair activity in Grandin forces the Stack family to detour around a construction site on their way to pick up their son at a nearby school in St. Albert Thursday. Here dad, Alan Stack, pulls Sadie, 1, in the wagon near their home on Grenfell Avenue at Greenwich Crescent.

Road closures and safety concerns related to construction work along Glenhaven Crescent have some residents calling the summer of 2017 “a living hell.”

On June 8, residents received a notification from Kichton Contracting Ltd. that they would be starting work on a sanitary sewer upgrade meant to address capacity issues. The project had been approved by the city and would affect Glenhaven Crescent, Greenwich Crescent, Grosvenor Boulevard and Grandin Road.

Delays along the way meant the project dragged on all summer.

During the project, the notification said, residents would have temporary barricades put up along their front driveway access and would need to use temporary water connections to their houses.

On Aug. 22, the city temporarily halted the work along Glenhaven Crescent due to performance issues with the contractor, according to the city’s website.

Meredith Willacy, project manager for the city of St. Albert, said the work was stopped due to operational issues. Although she did not give specifics as to what caused the work stoppage, she said the pause gave the city a chance to work with Kichton Contracting Ltd. and “regroup.”

Kichton Contracting declined to comment on the stoppage, referring questions to the city.

Work was halted for four days, resuming Aug. 26. It was the last straw for one family.

Resident Cara Antoshko and her parents, Don and Lennie Antoshko, spoke to the Gazette about a litany of concerns with how the project has progressed over the summer.

Cara Antoshko described a hole in her front yard, which the Gazette has seen photos of, uncovered hoses piping water to her duplex and power and cable outages as some of the issues she has faced over the summer.

She credits workers for quickly addressing some of those concerns once they were brought up, but says the impact of the construction on her quality of life has been extensive.

Tim La Rose, general manger for Kichton Contracting’s underground division, said the company wants to address safety concerns such as uncovered hoses right away and encouraged residents to get in touch so those concerns can be rectified.

“We have our safety guys walking around to make sure that is being taken care of,” he said.

As for the hole in Antoshko’s front yard, La Rose said other residents will experience the same thing in the future.

“That’s because we have to do the replacement up into their property line … so the holes are necessary for us to install that,” he said.

“The reason that hole was there longer than anticipated was because of the work stoppage,” La Rose said.

Although a timeline provided by the contractor in June had initially said construction for her part of Glenhaven would wrap up June 23, delays along the way meant Antoshko only recently regained access to her driveway.

The inconvenience has left Antoshko frustrated.

In mid-August, the unthinkable happened: her boyfriend, Doug Lutzaik, fell ill at her home and she had to call an ambulance.

She said paramedics had to park on Sir Winston Churchill Avenue and walk in to her home, before carrying Lutzaik out on a stretcher. Lutzaik passed away the following day.

Although she says she doesn’t think the outcome would have been different if paramedics hadn’t been delayed by parking so far away, the distress it caused her could have been avoided.

“I probably wouldn’t have watched him go unconscious. That image is still in my head,” she said.

To make matters worse, her power went out the next day along with her Internet access.

Willacy said Kichton Contracting struck a live power utility line during construction as well as secondary cable lines.

“The contractor was required to provide the city full explanation why these incidents happened and how they will (ensure) that no further utility hits will occur,” Willacy stated in an email.

The end of construction along Antoshko’s street comes as a relief, but she says she has now been told road resurfacing may not happen until next year.

Willacy said a revised schedule from Kichton shows road restoration happening in November, but depending on weather they may need to put down cold patch asphalt for the winter and permanent pavement in the spring.

Coun. Bob Russell said he received four phone calls over the summer from residents concerned about the construction. Concerns ranged from the removal of mature trees to the effect pounding equipment might have on the structural stability of homes.

That’s a concern Antoshko and her neighbours share. Antoshko said her driveway has sunk and she has noticed cracks in her home.

Russell said the city has a responsibility toward its residents to make sure construction is safe and doesn’t impact homes.

“If you get heavy equipment operating faster than it ought to be, or outside its (specifications), you can do damage to houses,” he said.

Willacy said the city has photos of all properties from before construction and if it receives evidence of damage to driveways or sidewalks related to the construction, the damaged areas will be repaired or replaced.

April Hudson: