Moir pit restoration prompts well water worries

The possible restoration of the Moir gravel pit prompted one resident to send a letter to council airing concerns about deep excavation.

The possible restoration of the Moir gravel pit prompted one Cranbrook resident to send a letter to council airing her concerns about deep excavation. Though the proposed plans for Moir gravel pit don’t include any stipulations for deep excavation, as Coun. Angus Davis pointed out at the Monday, April 7 meeting, the letter from Jessie Hunter does provide a resident’s perspective on an aspect of the history of that area.

Mayor Wayne Stetski said the letter was primarily useful as information for the city’s engineering department when redevelopment occurs at the gravel pit.

“Basically the writer of the letter is opposed to any excavations in the pit area,” Stetski said. “I’m not sure whether the information here was correct, but she was told the engineering firm had proposed three deep excavations to the depth that the underground water rises up and fills the holes with water.

“The writer takes us back to an experience that they had back in 1993 when Pinewood school was built, when contractors struck a source of water. It sounds like it was almost an artesian well and their own personal well went dry as a result of it.”

Hunter’s letter states that she and her husband, as well as other nearby residents in the area in Slaterville, are opposed to deep excavation in the area because of the possibility of it affecting their water wells. As she notes, all the residents north of Pinewood School are on water wells, as well as numerous businesses along Cobham Avenue.

“I feel obligated to oppose this project due to a previous frustrating and costly experience we have had due to digging in the area of the gravel pit,” Hunter writes.

Her parents originally owned the property where Pinewood School is located. In the late ’50s she and her husband built a home on King Street and had a forty foot well dug there. She said it was good for 15 to 20 gallons per minute and they had plenty of water coming out of the well until 1983 when contractors were laying down the foundation and sewer lines for Pinewood school and struck a water source, sending water running down what is now Slater Road.

Hunter said that caused their well to run dry and they eventually had to get a second well dug at a cost of $1,620.

Hunter and the residents she represents are worried that something similar could occur.

City staff noted at the meeting that there was no plan to do any more deep excavation on the Moir gravel pit property, and that the lakes were proposed because there is already water seeping happening.

Hunter personally gave the letter to Coun. Davis.

“This is a history of her life in that area of the community and it tells us what happens when people start messing around with the water table and I think it’s worth its weight in gold,” Davis said.