Letter to the editor 5, Aug. 27, 2015

Dear Editor,

I am a frustrated home owner, living in St Lazare. In 2004, we found a house in a quiet, residential area of St. Lazare. Being first time home-buyers, we were confident that we had made a good choice, since St. Lazare seemed to be developing and we were attracted by the prices and taxes which were lower than those on- island. Of course, we had to get accustomed to having less public transportation and only one grocery store, but we were willing to sacrifice these services for the benefits that St. Lazare seemed to offer. Our dream was short lived when the foundation of our home started sinking.

The only way to remedy the situation is to have the foundation fixed which is quite costly. When we add the bill of the foundation to our remaining mortgage, it will mean that we are buying our house all over again! We have mentioned our concerns to the city only to be told that our house is built in one of the ‘risky areas’ of St. Lazare (apparently there are a few!) and that it was our job to check before buying the house!

This is ridiculous! How are home buyers supposed to be aware of which land is ‘risky’ or not?! If the land is ‘risky’, why is it being built on in the first place? No-one informed us that our house was built on ‘risky’ land when we purchased it. Surely, the town is responsible since they are the ones who sell the land to the contractors in the first place. Sadly, the town is washing their hands of the situation, putting the blame on the contractors and telling us that now, the rules are stricter with regards to permits. This does not help my situation!! In other towns where there are land problems, the towns offer subsidies to help the citizens. Why not St. Lazare?

Listening to the town’s advice about the contractor being responsible, I visited the Urban Planning to find out who built our house because the contact numbers that we have are no longer valid! The contractor has disappeared off the face of the map, yet he has sold two houses in St. Lazare. Urban planning told me that giving me his contact numbers would be illegal and an invasion of his privacy! I am outraged. How can this man have rights? It is fine and dandy for him to take my money and then disappear. Where is his accountability?

I am sad to say that I am not the only person living this nightmare. On my street alone, we are three and in the development next door, there are more than half a dozen home-owners in the same predicament as I am, and these are only the ones that I am aware of. If these home-owners are lucky, they will receive help from the contractors. For those in my situation, the outlook is not good. I cannot help but feel betrayed by this town and the way the system works.

I would advise those looking for a house in St. Lazare to do their research. As far as I am concerned, a town with ‘risky land’ who sells to dishonest contractors is not a good bet!

Frustrated and Furious in St.Lazare

Joanne Ackland St Lazare home-owner

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