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Glen Davis water source a mystery

Water from what may be a buried creek is gurgling up onto Glen Davis Crescent, causing long sheets of ice on both sides of a street with no sidewalks.

Neighbours Susan Sullivan and Herman Franch stand on Glen Davis Crescent, where ground water is leaking steadily on both sides of the road and, in colder weather, freezing into large ice sheets covering up to half the width of the road. The city’s transportation and water divisions are investigating to see how they can keep the road clear of ice and to find the source of the water. PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

Neighbours Susan Sullivan and Herman Franch stand on Glen Davis Crescent, where ground water is leaking steadily on both sides of the road and, in colder weather, freezing into large ice sheets covering up to half the width of the road. The city’s transportation and water divisions are investigating to see how they can keep the road clear of ice and to find the source of the water.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson

Residents say the water sprang up about three years ago, and the “Glen Davis Glacier” is getting worse every winter.

Staff from the city’s transportation and water divisions are working to keep the street clear of ice and find the source of the water.

“We definitely have a water problem, and I can’t believe they can’t fix it,” said Herman Franch, a 30-year Glen Davis resident who said city crews successfully diverted the ground water about 25 years ago after digging up a section of the street to replace a water main.

That solved the problem for more than a decade, he said, but even before the current leaks, a sinkhole was opening up by a storm drain every few years.

“You’ve got to believe there is going to be a sinkhole happening soon,” Franch said.

“I’m not an engineer, but just seeing it – where is this water draining to? Where is it coming from?”

According to Lost Rivers, a Toronto Green Community project that tracks buried waterways, the eastern end of Glen Davis Crescent contained the source of Tomlin’s Creek, one of three waterways that fed Small’s Pond, a three-metre deep pond that stood at Queen Street and Kingston Road.

Small’s Pond was drained and filled in 1935, and the three streams that fed it were buried or diverted into drains.

Susan Sullivan moved to Glen Davis Crescent from Ottawa three years ago, and was looking forward to less icy winters.

But after heavy rains and a cold snap this November, she said ice covered all but a thin strip in the centre of Glen Davis Crescent for a distance of about 15 houses.

After Sullivan and others phoned the city, road crews started to salt the ice patch up to four times a day. Last week, crews broke up the remaining ice and trucked it away.

But all the leftover road salt causes its own problems, said Sullivan.

“I have to put boots on my dogs to get them out because the salt is so corrosive on their paws,” she said. “And I’m sure it’s not great for the environment.”

Franch said his dog reacts the same way. He uses an extra-long leash so his dog can walk above the curb while he walks in the middle of the road, between the ice sheets.

It’s kind of funny to see, said Franch, but the ice is not a laughing matter for seniors on his street.

Walking to a new crack in the centre of Glen Davis just east of their houses, Sullivan and Franch stopped to chat with neighbour Paul Coffey, who has a steady stream coursing out of the ground beside his driveway.

“A year ago, we had nothing, we were completely dry,” Coffey said. “One day we came out and it was a little wet, then it was a little wetter, and then it was a stream.”

The water flows so steadily it will not freeze in the winter. And songbirds bathe in it in the spring, he said, laughing.

“It’s probably the cleanest water in Toronto.”

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