Months after a road construction incident bubbled cement in a city’s sewer line and basements, homeowners on a north Winnipeg street say they are still waiting for answers – and fight for compensation – from the city.
Twelve homes on Semple Avenue were hit when a city-hired contractor breached a combined sewer near the homes, causing grout to enter the sewer line, the city said previously.
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The breach happened on May 29, and Kaitlin Bialek says her family still can’t use her basement, which ended up being filled with four feet of cement.
“None of this has been resolved. The city hasn’t agreed to pay for any of that, and we don’t think we should have used our home insurance, ”Bialek told Global News this week.
“My message to the city is that it sucks. You know, you left all those homeowners with this mess to clean up themselves.
As work on his basement nears completion, Bialek says the family has had to deal with dozens of construction workers entering and leaving their homes for months, fixing issues, including a major repair. weeping tiles from the house, which were left plugged with hardened cement.
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She says the total bill for the work is over $ 100,000 and the city hasn’t paid a dime.
Bialek says repairs to his neighbors’ properties have ranged from $ 60,000 to nearly $ 200,000.
“We’re lucky our insurance covered it, but others haven’t been so lucky,” she said.
“The day this happened, all the entrepreneurs we spoke to kept going, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’ll take care of this. There are going to be people who are going to clean it up. We will make sure that everything is fine.
“And then it was like, hours after that happened, nobody showed up. Nobody. Everyone kind of disappeared.
“It’s a big mess”
Bialek’s neighbor, George Monroe, says he is the only one of the affected homeowners who has not been able to start repairs.
That’s because his insurance said it wouldn’t cover any of the costs, and he says the city only offered to pay for half of the work.
Like Bialek, Monroe’s weeping tiles were filled with hardened cement when four inches of it went through his sewer line and into his basement.
He says he was given an estimate of $ 66,000 to fix the weeping tiles, but that would not include the work needed in his basement to have a sump pump installed.
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“It’s frustrating when the city has done some damage and they don’t want to cover the costs,” Monroe said.
In the meantime, no repairs have been made and her weeping tiles are still clogged.
“If we have a lot of snow in the spring and there is a flood, the basement is going to be flooded,” he said.
Although the city will not comment on specific claims, a city spokesperson said homeowners must go through their insurance to repair the damage, if insurance coverage is available.
Repair quotes can then be passed to city insurance, the spokesperson said.
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“The final amount covered by property insurance is a matter to be discussed between the owner and his insurers, as it is ultimately up to their insurers to decide whether to exercise their right of recovery from the City’s insurers,” said the spokesperson in a press release. .
“Any expense for loss or uninsured expenses, including deductibles, may also be submitted to the City’s insurer or to the insurance expert representing the City’s insurer, for review. “
This is an answer that Bialek and Monroe say is not good enough.
“It wasn’t our fault. We could not have done anything to prevent this, ”said Bialek.
“It was a city mistake, and the city should have stepped in to help the owners.”
– with files from Brittany Greenslade and Clay Young
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