Bowker Avenue resident waits for tests on contaminated soil

Report on Oak Bay’s response to flooding also due Friday

Juggling obligations and stress is a standard holiday pastime, but for the family hit hardest by last month’s flood, the seasonal coping mechanisms are in overdrive.

Martin Scaia has watched his neighbours on the 2200-block of Bowker Ave. restore their basements and return to their homes after a broken watermain last month spilled more than 11 million litres of water into their basements, but his time hasn’t yet come. Until Scaia receives the results of an environmental assessment on possible diesel contamination in his soil, he continues to live in a downtown hotel room with his wife Zoë Bradshaw and their three children. The carpenter travels between downtown, his Oak Bay workshop, school and the kids’ extracurricular activities.

Last Wednesday (Dec. 12), Wittich Environmental, contracted by the municipality of Oak Bay, took soil from holes in Scaia’s basement and sent the samples to Vancouver for contamination testing. Diesel, believed to be from a neighbour’s home, Scaia said, was suspected to have infiltrated his property. Other neighbourhood homes will also be tested. The results are expected back early this week. In the meantime, his family remains holed up in the hotel – at least for the immediate future.

“Our insurance agent has told us that our additional expenses are going to expire soon,” Scaia said. “We can’t delay any longer with this or we’re going to be out in the street.”

Oak Bay has set out to answer some tough questions around the flood this week, with the release of an incident report from the chief administrative officer expected on Friday (Dec. 21). The report, said Mayor Nils Jensen, will outline what happened and how the municipality can make positive changes based on the experience. It will be posted to oakbay.ca.

“We recognize that this is a time-consuming and difficult process for the residents,” Jensen said, recognizing the aid parks and engineering departments provided. “We’re certainly trying to be as supportive as we can be here.”

Scaia is hoping for a clean environmental report, but bracing for the worst-case scenario. Should the soil prove to be contaminated, he’s not sure where his family will stay for the extended remediation process, he said. Though he’s hesitant to comment on just how much it could cost to remove contaminated soil from beneath his home, Scaia knows he won’t be able to foot the bill.

“A lot of people comment that insurance will pay for everything, but I think anyone who has been through a large insurance claim understands that this is not a free ride,” Scaia said. “This is a lot of work and a lot of disappointment at this point.”

Though feeling alone and without recourse, Scaia continues to question what would have happened had the metre-deep water surged through his newly-renovated basement after nightfall, while his children slept.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

Construction in Oak Bay is nearly all focused on rebuilding new single-family homes and without secondary suites. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay nears regulation of secondary suites

Preliminary report hints there’s no preferred option

NEW CUTLINE Pacific FC fans fill the stands during a game at the former Westhills Stadium
 Starlight Developments has purchased the naming rights from the City of Langford for the next 10 years.(Gazette file photo)

Pacific FC slid into third place in the league after defeating FC Edmonton 1-0 at Westhills Stadium on Saturday. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Langford sells stadium naming rights for $500,000 to Starlight Developments

10-year sponsorship deal largest in the history of Langford, says mayor

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bastion Square attack leaves victim with life-altering injuries

Victoria police looking for witnesses, information

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hiker among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

Most Read