Water flows from the sidewalk into Tim Frado's driveway. TIM FRADO

Resident frustrated with Town response to water issues

Living in a mature part of town has its charm, and also its pitfalls. Just ask Tim Frado.

Frado has been living on Emmett Street for the past 20 years. It’s an old neighbourhood, one of the earliest in Fonthill, as reflected in its towering trees and smaller, pre- and post-war homes. The street has a steep grade running east from Pelham Street toward Station Street, which can cause problems, especially when winter storms bring snow, rain, and high winds.

“The sidewalks have heaved, so that water flows down our driveway like crazy,” said Frado. “It’s caused our driveway to crack in countless places. I have reached out to the Town of Pelham many times to have the issue resolved, yet nobody has come to do anything.”

He said that the old sidewalk on Emmett has had sections replaced recently, but the Town staffer supervising the repair told him there was no money in the budget to address the pavement flooding which specifically affects his property.

“The sidewalk poses a tripping hazard,” said Frado. “An old woman, now deceased, who lived at the end of College Street, used to walk by here every day. One day she tripped, fell to the pavement, broke her nose and got a concussion.”

Frado pointed to sections of scarred lawn adjacent the pavement, caused by Town contractors who remove the sidewalk snow with mini-tractors. “The plow blade is too wide for the pavement, so it eats up the grass,” he said.

Recently, Frado noticed that the water that used to flood the ditches in front of his home has stopped abruptly, causing him to ponder the reason. Perhaps Mother Nature had cut him a break?

“All of a sudden there’s no water coming down the ditches. It used to flood like crazy, the street was underwater,” said Frado. Then a Town worker told me that the water had been re-routed to the sewer system.”

The local wastewater treatment plant is now charging Fonthill for rainwater

Frado isn’t pleased, because he sees this move as causing more dollars to flow from his wallet.

“The local wastewater treatment plant is now charging Fonthill for rainwater,” he asserts. “It’s costing the taxpayers. Have you looked at your water bill lately? It’s tripled.”

Emmett Street has been slated for repairs for 15 years, claims Frado, but he fears that a municipal focus on new builds in East Fonthill and elsewhere in Pelham has put his street on the back-burner.

“They started all this building over here,” he said, pointing towards developments east of Station Street and along Port Robinson Road. “It’s been building, building, building. All the attention is over there. They redid all the electrical on Station Street, and now I see signs advertising a public meeting for even more projects.”

Frado voiced frustration that Emmett Street is being neglected.

“We’re part of Fonthill too. All of the rest of the town was built around this. The town’s reputation of ‘beautiful little Fonthill’ comes from people walking down streets like Emmett, with all the beautiful big trees.”

He clearly has a love-hate relationship with the majestic tree canopy overhead.

“Branches smashed my utility trailer, and broke my daughter’s windshield,” he asserted. “I called the Town, and they told me to put in a claim for damages. Then the Town’s insurance company called me up, and said ‘We’re not paying for nothing. That’s an act of God.’ And I said, ‘Are you serious?’”

The Voice asked Mayor Marvin Junkin to respond to Frado’s complaints, interrupting his viewing of the Leaf game last Thursday night in the process. (A mayor’s job is never done.)

“I was down on Emmett Street to talk with Mr. Frado personally during the summer,” said Junkin. “Public Works has spoken to him as well, and was down to check on the flooding problem this morning. As far as the trees are concerned, the Town did some tree branch trimming on Emmett this past fall, based on complaints from Mr. Frado’s neighbours.”

Junkin said that the good news is that once the road and sewer construction work on Pelham Street is completed, Emmett Street will get the same treatment, including rainwater sewers. The bad news is that it could take a year or two.