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Friday, January 27, 2012

Burst Pipes Continue to Flood Home in Garson

All Brian Weight wanted was a house to raise his family in. What he ended up with is a six-year marathon of despair fighting the city as his property is slowly destroyed.

Constant road and utilities work on Falconbridge Road in Garson, on which he lives, have menaced Weight, his family and many of his neighbours for several years, he said.

He and his wife bought the home on Falconbridge Highway in Garson eight years ago and fixed it up, including finishing the basement. They have two children, three and five.

All went well until six years ago when a watermain burst in front of his house caused flooding along the street. Although his house was spared, some of his neighbours were badly flooded, Weight said.

Since then, there have been two other pipe bursts in front of his property that have flooded his home. Two years ago, a burst flooded his yard and basement. He re-graded one side of his property and ripped out half his newly finished basement. But the fear of flooding has prevented him from rebuilding it.

Again last week, another watermain burst in virtually the same spot left his front yard completely saturated and water pooling close to basement windows. It's likely he'll have to rip out the rest of his basement, he said.

As well, three years ago when they started to rebuild Falconbridge Highway in front of his Garson home, his yard was torn up constantly for more than two years, first for the road and then for the curb and side-walks.

It has been, on aggregate, more than one property owner should have to bear, he said.

"In the eight years I've been here, I've had a good yard for only two of them," he said.

After it was torn up again last winter, when the gas line was being replaced, he didn't even bother reseeding it, he said.

And now it's flooded again, he wonders if it's worth seeding it this spring.

"I don't understand why they didn't replace the pipes when they had the street torn up," he said. "Instead, the city will have to keep tearing the road up every time this happens, and I'm gonna have a flood every time this happens."

Compounding his problem is that the roadbed was raised a few inches when it was rebuilt, and now his property is the low point in the neighbourhood, he said.

The city has accepted no responsibility for his ongoing issues. He's been invited to file an insurance claim with the city, but he's also been told the city has never been found responsible in such cases before.

It's an unfortunate situation, Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour says. Weight has done nothing wrong, but doesn't appear to have many options. He has offered to help Weight navigate the insurance process, but he, too, is skeptical it will work.

In the meantime, Weight says he's thousands of dollars out of pocket and the only solution presented to him -- to raise the grade of his property a couple of feet -- will cost thousands more.

His dream of owning a home has become a nightmare, he said.

"How can you be proud of something when it's constantly being ruined?"

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