TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN
Jean Halliday sits in her basement, still wet from recent overland flooding, in her home on 16th Street North in Brandon on Tuesday.
The city has offered to purchase a plot of land from a homeowner who has spent more than 10 years battling flooding she believes the city caused.
But Jean Halliday, who lives on 16th Street North behind Lady of the Lake, said she won’t accept the $95,000 offer to buy her single-storey home.
In 2001, Halliday received a $10,000 Manitoba Housing grant through the city for home repairs. She had to sign a "save harmless" agreement with the city, stating she could not take legal action against the municipal government for any flooding issues that may occur, since she’s located on a flood plain of the Assiniboine River.
During the following years, Halliday saw the empty lots surrounding her property built up by the city prior to being purchased by developers. She claims that left her yard retaining water nearly every year for the past decade.
Flooding on her property was never a concern when she purchased the home from her grandfather in 1999, she says. Nor were there any water issues when her grandparents moved into the home in the early 1970s, when the surrounding lands were flat.
The plots of land around Halliday’s property have since been purchased by developers, leaving her and one other home surrounded by raised, mostly undeveloped properties.
Her basement has had water seepage nearly every year, and it’s still wet from this year’s flooding.
Engineering and property officials from the city could not be reached for comment yesterday.
According to a Brandon and Area Planning District document, all developers must sign the save harmless agreement with the municipality stating they cannot take legal action against the city in the event of a flood issue.
Halliday was legally considered a developer when she received the home repair grant, which was used for windows, siding, insulation and other upgrades.
The intent of the legal agreement is to direct intensive development away from diked areas and to ensure developers know the flood risks in the area.
The agreement also protects other levels of government.
"Any development within the area of the flood plain ... within the City of Brandon, shall not be entitled to any federal and/or provincial compensation in the event the property is flooded," the agreement states.
But Halliday did receive $1,500 in emergency funds from the province in 2005 following major flooding that year.
After several years of grappling with the city to put drainage in the area to funnel floodwaters away from her home, the city issued an offer Tuesday to purchase the home.
But Halliday isn’t budging.
She said her property value has plummeted since the city initially built up the other plots of land and the $95,000 offer isn’t enough for her to purchase a new home.
"We can’t buy anything for that much," Halliday said.
She said she wants as much as $200,000, adding the developer that owns the land beside her isn’t currently interested in purchasing her property.
The offer is based on the property’s current zone, condition, improvements, sewer service and the city’s future intended use and appraised by Roland Weir Appraisal Associates. The city’s online assessment map shows the land is appraised at $91,300.
Halliday, who has until Aug. 20 to accept, said she will continue to fight the city to increase drainage in the area.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 7, 2014