LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 News) - After a canal break killed a mother and her two kids in 2009, the City of Logan vowed to rebuild and boost public safety but not everyone is thrilled about it. Several nearby homeowners have filed a $25 million dollar lawsuit to put a halt on construction of the new pipeline.
“It was a very pleasant canal,” remembers JoAnn Wilson. JoAnn moved into her home just feet away from the canal about five years ago. She tells ABC 4, it’s one of the reasons she bought the home.
“It seems like a small thing, but in reality that’s what Logan had that was unique - its open waters,” said Wilson.
Wilson is one of several Logan residents filing suit in order to stop the construction of the pipeline. “I think what’s really sad is people don’t really know the impact on the culture of the community,” said Wilson. “We’ve got trees dying all over town. We’ve got wildlife all over town that are lost because it doesn’t know where to go anymore.”
Susan Etherington has spent most of her life living near the canal. She has fond memories of floating the canal with her children. “It’s been there so long, it’s just a natural feature of this area,” said Etherington.
That all changed when another canal in the area burst in 2009.
Etherington said, “Three people in a home got consumed by the mud when it came down and were killed and when they did that I think they started worrying about liability for canals, but this canal I never thought it was a liability as much because it’s just not on a steep slope. That one was on a really steep slope.”
Still the push to put the canal in a pipeline is not a surprise to Etherington whose neighbors have been dealing with flooding issues because of the canal for years.
“I’m not surprised,” said Etherington. “I’m surprised at some of the people that are so angry because it’s been talked about for so long.”
Wilson says the canal that burst could have been fixed without piping every waterway in the area. She tells ABC 4 News when she brought up her concerns the response she got was an argument about the need to pipe water to the farmers.
“The whole thing was down, ‘we have to get water to the farmers.’ In the first place, there are far fewer farmers at the other end of the canal then there ever were before and the second place before that canal broke we never had a problem getting water to those farmers,” said Wilson.
ABC 4 News contacted the county and city for comment, but the city attorney declined the request stating that it would be best to let the judge make his decision before the case was tried in the media. The judge could make his decision as soon as Friday.