Last week Ward 12 resident Thierry Harris stood up at the All Candidates debate and through his questions revealed a watershed moment in terms of the imbalance between the rights of the individual versus those granted to corporate builders while the City of Ottawa stands by .
Our house shook for a few months when Stewart St was torn up. The noise was incredibly irritating and slightly concerning yet absolutely nothing in comparison to what these neighbours to the St Partick / Bruyere Claridge Homes WaterStreet build have been subjected too over the last 11 months.
The homes of Thierry Harris and at least 4 of his neighbours literally move and shake. The sound of industrial machinery is relentless and deafening. The ceiling of his neighbour’s well-appointed office has collapsed covering work and computers. Entry handles are dismantled and re-assembled when doors no longer open and close properly. Floors tilt as heavy machinery drills down underneath to accommodate underground parking. Walls with many deep cracks and crumbling portions are duct-taped to prevent further erosion and keep cold air at bay. Recently the waterproof membrane was torn from Harris’ foundations by the considerate builders of the 5-storey condo that has penned in his small yard and completely eradicate his view as the build is literally up to his property line.
Citizens for Responsible Development (CRDOttawa.org) are doing an excellent job providing an online showcase for the damage, the frustration and the helplessness of these home-owners. Please visit the CRDOttawa website and browse the portfolio images and video – the few words here do not do justice to this situation.
The current councillor, Mathieu Fleury, cannot advocate for these resident as he has declared a Conflict of Interest where this particular builder is concerned. However I would say this goes beyond the issues of one Councillor and one Ward. This is a City wide problem that requires action.
It really doesn’t matter which ward you live in – City-wide regulation is clearly desperately needed to protect home-owners and provide clear enforceable guidelines for new-builds particularly those that dwarf and compromise the existing architecture in a neighbourhood. No one builds a two-storey town home to the specifications to withstand this sheet metal piling and drilling required for a condo tower.
Harris is a Rideau Vanier resident but this could happen any where in a city where many municipal candidates and even our Mayor have campaigns bankrolled and/or endorsed by Developers. All Ottawa residents should have up-front protection against such invasive developments and stop-work regulations should be issued long before this level of damage is ever incurred.
It’s time for change in regulations and it’s time for change in how elected officials fund their campaigns if residents are to expect political will in their favour. The electorate deserve representation that speaks up to protect individuals over corporations and in this instance Ottawa’s current municipal politicians must take decisive action to protect these peoples’ homes.
Please visit Citizens for Responsible Development Ottawa for comprehensive coverage.