Local man has monster of a root tale

Ben Taytelbaum and TJ Wilchynski who both work for Action Plumbing and Heating in Osoyoos, pose with a monster root they helped remove from a Lakeshore Drive storm sewer.

Epic battle captures media imagination nationwide

By Andrew Stuckey
OsoyoosToday


An Osoyoos property manager’s epic battle with an underground monster is capturing the imagination of news media worldwide.

Grant McCulloch, who owns one unit at Lakeshore Drive’s Village on the Lake and property manages the complex for other owners, posted images on Facebook Friday following an afternoon’s work he and a pair of plumbers went about to remove a 40-foot length of willow root from a storm sewer.

Over the weekend, that post had garnered media attention across the province.

By Monday, the story was national and looking to trend overseas as well.

“My phone is just blowing up,” Grant said today of the number of calls he has fielded from media across Canada. “CBC, CTV, Global — even Yahoo Canada.

“It does look something like a prehistoric sea monster,” he said of the root, which lies stretched and foreboding in several of the photos. “The angle of the pictures — people look at it and say this looks like something that could be alive.

“You can see where Clickbait and National Enquirer stories come from.”

Grant fittingly discovered the creature Friday after last week’s monster deluge.

“I had a backup somewhere,” he explained. “The one storm drain was overflowing and the one down the line was empty, so it was obviously in there.”

He called Osoyoos-based Action Plumbing and Heating, which dispatched Ben Taytelbaum and TJ Wilchynski. The two plumbers had no idea of what they would be facing.

“We didn’t have a clue how long it was,” said Grant. “It could have been two feet, five feet — but we didn’t think it would be 40 feet.

“We just started pulling. And pulling. And pulling. And pulling,” said Grant. “With the three of us pulling with all our might, and using every crowbar, it came out about one inch at a time.”

Grant has nothing but gratitude for TJ and Ben, saying it would have been easy for them to pack it in and call for a backhoe — a decision that would have cost the complex thousands of dollars.

“But they just kept at it. We were all whacked by the time it was pulled out.”

The root literally was a monster, weighing it at hundreds of pounds soaking wet. But, after the photos captured its immensity and the sun went to work drying it out, it suffered a rather ignominious fate.

“It’s cut up and in our compost pile,” Grant said. “Yesterday, it was dried out and that took a lot of weight off. Once it was dried out, I just took some hedge clippers to it.”

He also has little sympathy for any other roots hiding elsewhere in the storm sewer.

“This complex has been here for 10 years, and I’ve been here since the beginning; it’s 10 years in the making,” he said of the monster.

“So any budding roots — pardon the pun — they’re going to have to go, as well.”

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