Bridgewater tenants to return home after flood last month

1 / 2
Bridgewater tenants to return home after flood last month

Tenants forced out of their apartments in Bridgewater, N.S., after the building's basement flooded late last month are being allowed to return home, the property's landlord said Monday.

Power has been restored to the building, which contains 10 apartments and a number of businesses, after a flood March 29. Electricity was cut to the building for safety reasons. 

"I'm just so tired," said Troy Veinotte, who has been a tenant in the building since 2014. "I just want to get back in." 

Since the power cut, Veinotte and his girlfriend have been staying with his mother about half an hour's drive away, where space is at a premium.

"We've been there since last week so it's close quarters, that's for sure," he said.  

Water flowed from neighbouring property

Landlord Ken Anthony said the trouble began late last month when a neighbouring property owner unblocked a drain that had been closed off to prevent water from flowing onto Anthony's property at 224 Dufferin Street. 

Water began to flow into the basement and rose above the bases of the electrical panels for the 10 apartments and four commercial offices. 

Some tenants left on the day of the power cut to stay with family and friends. On March 31 any remaining tenants were told they would have to move out as it was against safety regulations for them to live in a building without power. 

"There's not much else we can do," Anthony said Monday. "We even looked at bringing generators in, four big generators to run some of the apartments. But that was ruled out."

Anthony said the damaged electrical parts were not easy to source and only arrived on the evening of April 6. He said there was a further delay in installing them due to an objection from his insurance company. 

Expensive repair

Anthony estimated the repairs have cost approximately $35,000, and he was unsure how much of that amount would be covered by his insurance company. 

He said there has been flooding at the building in the past but he believed the problem was repaired until the most recent flood. In the last week he has made additional fixes, including putting backup valves on all the pipes and adding a third sump pump to handle any water in the basement. 

Fair solution?

Veinotte said the flood has also been costly for him and his girlfriend. Although he has tenants insurance, there is a deductible of $1,000, which has left him paying for expenses like food to replace anything spoiled in his fridge and extra gas to pay for a longer commute to work. 

"I paid my rent early last month, so essentially I'm paying for a space that I can't use," he said.

"I don't think that's necessarily fair either."

Veinotte questioned whether Anthony could have better prepared for the March flood. 

"That area has been flooding for years," he said. "If something's a problem, and it can be fixed like it's getting fixed now, it could have been fixed two years ago." 

Help from landlord

Some tenants have received assistance from the landlord, and Veinotte said he hopes a solution can be found for tenants who still have out-of-pocket expenses. 

"I would hope that all the tenants are treated the same, and are treated fairly. I think he knows what the right thing to do is, and I would hope he does the right thing," Veinotte said.  

Anthony said he is willing to work with tenants with "reasonable" demands. 

"Obviously we want them to be tenants for the long term and also want to put a message out, because we have a lot of properties, to any other tenants that we have, that we'll be there for them," he said.