Paradise home damaged during infrastructure development, owner left to foot the bill

Malone Mullin/CBC

Construction work in Paradise has left one resident footing part of the bill after contractors caused damage to his family's home while completing work approved by the town.

Mike Button didn't want to complain at first, and says he tried to work with the contractors.

Button said the contractors showed up next to his property one day over 15 months ago, without warning, to upgrade sewage and water, and moving around mountains of gravel through the residential neighbourhood. 

But, then his lawn was dug up, his driveway heaved and the walls inside his house began to crack. 

"If we sell this house in four years' time and there's cracks in the house, who's going to be responsible for all this? If there's a flooding in my house today, does my insurance cover it or do I have to go after the contractor? There's still a few areas that still need re-painting, but it wasn't in our budget," Button told CBC Radio's On The Go.

"Nobody planned for this. So it was about $1,200 we've paid so far for a contractor to material and everything."

Mike Button/Facebook

Button said there was a lack of communication between himself, the developers and the town.

He said construction was three meters from his house with machinery pounding on bedrock for six weeks.

 

The family lost access to their driveway, had to keep windows closed due to diesel emissions from machinery and their children couldn't go outside for fear of playing next to an active construction site.   

Who is responsible?

Button said that the town told him to speak to the developer and that the town is not responsible, although he's left confused, as it was the town that approved the development and he had no say from the beginning.

He said at no point was he notified by the town to tell him of the ongoing construction and development near his property.

Malone Mullin/CBC

Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett said the town approved the development, and once completed it will be turned over to the town, but there are guidelines which have to be followed.

Bobbett said town staff will look through the development agreement to see if there is anything that holds the contractor to stipulations as it moves through the subdivision.

Bobbett added that town staff have since been in contact with Button to work with him to understand the issues and to see what the town can do on its end. 

However, according to Bobbett, there is nothing in development contracts which states that a contractor is responsible to pay for damages to private property.

Mike Button/Facebook

Bobbett said contractors and developers carry insurance for that reason.

"We're not washing our hands of it. We've got staff in and went through all of his issues. So, now we're going through each one of them and just seeing what our responsibilities are to go back to any contractor, if there's anything in the development agreement that holds him to any of the work that he's done," he said. 

"If there's anything that the town needs to repair, then we'll do that as well."

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