January 31, 2000
To: Toronto Community Council
From: David F. Parrish, Director of Districts 1 and 2 Water and Wastewater Operations
Subject: Drain Grant Appeal for 28 Silver Birch Avenue
Ward 26, East Toronto
An appeal to a Drain Grant Claim has been made by the property owner, Mr John Cole, 28 Silver Birch Avenue. The
applicant is requesting to be reimbursed for snakings, for repairs to the interior drain piping under his basement floor, and
for additional funds over and above the limit of the Tree Root Removal and Grant Policy for repairs to the exterior drain
There are currently sufficient funds in the Water and Wastewater Services Division's 2000 Preliminary Operating Budget
to cover this appeal.
It is recommended that the appeal be denied.
City Council, at its meeting of May 11 and 12, 1999 adopted, as amended, Clause 3 of Works and Utility Committee
Report No. 7, entitled "Sewer Connection Blockage Inspection and Repair Program, and Tree Root Removal and Grants
Policy". Under the Policy the City provides grant assistance for repairs to private drains, between the City property line and
the building, where the blockage is the result of roots from a City tree and is verified by City staff.
The Policy also provides the homeowner the opportunity to appeal for an enhanced grant and appear in deputation before
Community Council when the grant application is denied or when total costs exceed the grant maximum.
On April 22, 1999 Mr. Cole had a blocked drain due to tree roots. The blockage was snaked and relieved by a contractor at
a cost of $175.00. On May 19, 1999, the drain was again blocked by tree roots and was snaked and relieved by a contractor
at a cost of $160.50.
On May 26, 1999 another drain blockage due to tree roots caused damage to the interior of the home from sewage backing
up into the basement. Mr. Cole incurred costs of $5,293.29 to repair the water damage and was fully reimbursed by his
On June 3, 1999 Mr. Cole had the exterior drain pipes replaced from street line to the exterior wall of 28 Silver Birch
Avenue for a total cost of $3,852.00 of which $1,500.00 was subsequently reimbursed from the City through application to
the Tree Root Removal and Grants Policy.
On June 24, 1999 Mr. Cole had the interior drain pipes replaced under his basement floor for a total cost of $4,387.00 of
which $3,130.51 was reimbursed by his insurance company.
In his letter of October 7, 1999 Mr. Cole is appealing for payment of the following unreimbursed costs:
Both snaking jobs $335.50
Remainder of the cost of the exterior drain work
after the Drain Grant reimbursement $2,352.00
Remainder of the cost of the interior drain work
after Mr. Cole's insurance company's reimbursement $1,256.49
TOTAL APPEAL $3,943.99
Staff have determined that there have been no prior grant applications and that the Works and Emergency Services'
Dispatch Centre has no current record of any drain related calls for the subject address.
Staff were not called out to investigate the causes of the blockages, and as such, were unable to physically verify roots as
the cause. Staff confirmed the presence of a tree on City property and approved the grant application on this basis. Mr.
Cole, in his letter of October 7, 1999, indicated that the tree has been there for approximately ten years since it was planted
by City staff to replace an older tree.
Staff have reviewed the costs with both the resident and the contractor and have determined that there are no extenuating
circumstances to be considered in this appeal.
The Tree Root Removal and Grant Policy does not provide for reimbursement for costs incurred by the homeowner for
internal drain work or for investigations carried out by private drain companies - i.e. snaking, plunging, closed circuit
television inspection etc. Grant assistance is available only if the roots of a City-owned tree are blocking the private sewer
connection pipe between the home's exterior foundation wall and the property line.
Mr Cole's application for a grant was approved for the maximum amount of $1,500.00. His appeal for reimbursement
related to snaking ($335.50) and interior drain work ($1,256.49) are not eligible under the Grant Policy and should be
denied. His appeal for the remaining exterior costs ($2,352.00) is eligible for consideration under this appeal process.
There are however no extenuating circumstances involved for Council's consideration.
Mike Siokalo, Manager of Operations and Maintenance
District 1, Area, Water and Wastewater Operations
David F. Parrish, P.Eng.
Director of Districts 1 and 2 Water and Wastewater Operations
Water and Wastewater Services Division