Picket outside Lakefront Utilities in Cobourg

COBOURG, ONTARIO - A Cobourg homeowner who suffered water flooding and damage in his basement in December was picketing in the rain outside Lakefront Utilities recently.

Despite the weather, Dave Ashcroft was attracting attention and was wished “good luck” by at least one gentlemen who spoke with him about his picket. The reason for his protest was outlined to passersby through Mr. Ashcroft’s plastic-covered sign.

“Lakefront Utilities and the Town of Cobourg, you have an unhappy customer and property taxpayer,“ read one side of Dave Ashcroft’s waterproof sign. The other side called for “Common Sense” when dealing with derelict homes, shutting off power and the resulting water damage from burst water pipes.

This is the scenario Mr. Ashcroft says he lived through over the Christmas period when a water pipe burst at the adjacent, vacant house to his 378 Margaret Street home. He used a shop vac for days to keep the flooding in his basement to several inches and despite the rain and melting snow over the weekend, it had stopped.

(His contractor, Sean Kelly, explained to this newspaper previously that he believed the water from the burst pipe at 370 had saturated the ground and was infiltrating Mr. AshcroftÂ’s basement, and would continue to do so, until the water level was down below the access points of the basement. Mr. Kelly said he was with a representative of the town-controlled utililty company when the burst pipe was discovered and the water service turned off late last month.)

Originally, a Lakefront Utilities worker told Mr. Ashcroft his own water service was at fault and should be dug up, Mr. Ashcroft said. He spent days during the holidays trying to contact a contractor to check out the problem and then discovered it wasnÂ’t likely his own water service at all.

“The real problem is a property to property issue,“ maintained Lakefront Utilities president Bruce Craig in a recent interview. “But (Mr. Ashcroft) doesn’t seem to understand that,” he said.

“His issue is not with us.”

As a result of speaking with Mr. Ashcroft in person, the utility has, however, evaluated how it assesses water leaking problems and how they can be remedied, Mr. Craig said.

Last fall the utility started the process of acquiring leak detection equipment, but Mr. Craig reiterated: “Leak detection can be difficult.”

The system that will be used employs sound and while a vibrating pipe due to a crack can be picked up, a broken pipe with a solid flow would not likely be detected, he explained.


in Year