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Logan residents file $25M lawsuit to stop project, have canal restored to previous state

Published: Tuesday, March 19 2013 5:25 p.m. MDT

Crews in Logan are rebuilding an irrigation system where a canal break happened in 2009, killing a mother and her two children. Some residents are not happy with the way the project is going, and they have filed a $25 million lawsuit to stop it.

Mike Anderson, Deseret News

LOGAN — Several homeowners near the Logan Country Club have filed a $25 million lawsuit and asked a judge to put a stop to a canal improvement project.

After a Logan family was killed by a canal break in 2009, the canal has undergone major improvements and construction.

The rebuilding of the irrigation system began in October 2012 and is expected to be finished in May 2013. The major issues driving the project are to have improved safety for the city and the need to channel the water to communities for irrigation.

However, several homeowners say the project is changing the face of Logan. The once flowing stream is now a dirt-covered trench, and homeowners said they want the canal restored to its previous state. A judge is expected to make a decision in the coming week.

The small canals on the northeast side of Logan have been landmarks in the community since the 1880s.

"We grew up in the community with what's here, and now it's taken so easily," homeowner Marlow Goble said.

Goble is one of several homeowners who fought to keep the visual aesthetics of the canal, but construction has moved it underground.

"We feel about it — in this neighborhood, in this part of the city — the same way as if you'd have taken the Logan River and decided you want to put it in a pipe," Goble said.

Despite the protests, county leaders said changes had to be made after a branch of the canal broke in July 2009. The rushing water wiped out a nearby home, killing a mother and her two children inside.

Val Potter, chairman of the Cache County Council, said putting the water flow underground will prevent the type of leakage that led to the 2009 break.

Potter also said he understands the concerns of the homeowners and that efforts were made to keep parts of the canal in the original form.

"We've done a lot within the project to restore back some existing channel features," said Zan Murray, with JUB Engineering.

"It's a good thing for the conservation of water, for the long-term future of Cache County," Potter added.

A smaller waterway will be added to the top of the canal through the Castle Hills subdivision, but Goble said he feels the residents have lost their battle.

"We can live with what we've compromised," he said. "We're not happy with it. This was really shoved down our throat."

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