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'I don't want to leave': Repeat flooding could force Saskatoon woman out of home she's had for 44 years


Mabel Wiley remembers when she bought her house on Avenue E almost 44 years ago, because she got it the same time her granddaughter was born.

But after the third flood in less than 15 months has ruined her basement again, Wiley is afraid she’ll have to give up the home that contains so many precious memories.

“I don’t want to leave, and I don’t want this to keep happening.” she said.

On May 29, Wiley – a Saskatoon woman in her 80s – awoke in the early morning hours to her basement filling with water. The repairs weren’t even quite finished from the last time her home flooded, which was in January.

And when the house flooded in January, she’d only been back living in it for a couple of months — Wiley had been forced to temporarily live in an apartment for almost seven months in 2019 after a devastating flood in March made her home unliveable.

As she puts it, the first flood in March of 2019 was so bad the water reached the ceiling of her basement.

“The city didn’t make it for over an hour,” she said. “It was going out the windows, out the side door, out through the garage … my basement was completely flooded.”

This time, the flood did not reach the same heights as the first, but it still caused plenty of damage. Wiley said many workers at ServiceMaster Restore in Saskatoon have become friends of hers due to how much she has had to phone them in the past year.

Wiley described herself as a person who enjoys her independence. She said she knows there’s going to be a time when she will be unable to take care of herself in her house and she’ll likely have to move out. But while she is still in a position to take care of herself, she doesn’t want a preventable issue like a flood to be the push that sends her out the door.

“Soon, I’ll have to leave here. Soon,” Wiley said. “As long as I can shovel snow, I don’t want to have to leave.”

Wiley said she was told the first flood in 2019 was caused by a broken fire hydrant, but she didn’t know the details — she said people at the ServiceMaster Restore company had helped handle most of her interactions with the city. But since there have been two more floods since the first incident, Wiley said she just wants the city to figure out what’s wrong and to solve it. Insurance is helping her deal with the financial costs of fixing her home, but the mental costs are starting to build up.

Now, she’s just asking for some answers as to why this keeps happening – and how the city can fix it so it doesn’t happen again.

“This time, I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know who let the city know,” she said. “I would like the city to find the problem so I don’t have to move out of my house. I love my home.”

maolson@postmedia.com

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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