Docstoc

Dream home a nightmare The Bryden family of Rideau Lakes Township

Document Sample
Dream home a nightmare The Bryden family of Rideau Lakes Township Powered By Docstoc
					Dream home a nightmare
The Bryden familyof Rideau Lakes Township highhopes
                                           had
whenthey set out to buildtheirdreamhomein 2002. But after
a bitterlegalbattle,they now facelosingthe h o m ea n dt h e i r
currentresidence, Andrew  Thomson  reports.

Andrew Thomson
The Ottawa Citizen


Saturday, January 12, 2008


Afteryearsof planning  and dreaming,
Loriand RickBrydenhopedby now
they'dbe livingin their dreamhomeon
old familypropertyoutsideWestport,in
Rideau Lakes Township.
                     --
That hasn'thappened their unfinished
househas sat vacantsince2002. Now
they and their teenaged daughterface
the prospect hugefinanciallossesand
            of
removalfrom their current housein the
middleof winter.
Lori,an educator  who ran in
Leeds-Grenville the Liberals
                for            in       CREDIT:  BrunoSchlumberger, The Ottawa
October's provincialelection,hasn't     Citizen
stoppedwritingto PremierDalton          From left, RickBryden,Mara Brydenand
McGuinty cabinet
          and         ministersat       Lori Brydenface being homelessafter a
Queen's  Park,desperate a last-minutelegaldisputeover the constructionof their
                         for
reprieve after yearsof disputeswith the dream home, which has been condemned.
        the              and
builder, municipality their
warrantyprovider.
"We have no optionsleft for usr" she said. "We are absolutely
                                                            stuck in this awful
situation."
The Brydens want to know how a houseonceapprovedby townshipbuilding
        is
officials now consideredunsafe,despiteno changein construction five
                                                             for
years.

The most recenttwist was when the Brydens,both 44, received sheriffs
                                                           a
noticein November vacatetheir currenthouseon the same propertyso the
                  to
former contractor                               home,to recouppart of his
                can auctionit, and the unfinished
damage  awardsin a judgmentfrom a February         regarding longstanding
                                             lawsuit         a
paymentdispute.

Bob Pollard, Westport
           a               won $78,000in damages, auctionis Jan.
                    builder,                    The
29.

                  beingevictedfrom the housewe live in," said Rick,a school
"We are essentially
bus driver,who callstheir situation cautionary for new homebuyers.
                                  a          tale
The story beganin 1986,whenthe youngcouple  boughtthe landon North
ShoreRoad  from Lori'smother.The lO-acrepropertyhas beenin Lori'sfamily
for generations alreadyhad a 1960s-era
              and                       house.

The Brydensspentmore yearsdesigning
                                  their dreamhome,whichneededa
               provisions.
numberof special
Maraspenta gooddealof her first year in hospital
                                               and,to this day, fights
severeasthma.Lori'srheumatoid arthritis flaredup at the sametime, leaving
her physically      and unable work for four years.
             disabled          to

The property's       homestead
              original         wouldbe moved,splitting landinto two
                                                     the
                                         barrier-free
lots.The new housewould be an open-concept,          spacein caseLori's
physicalconditionworsenedagain.
In 2002,they hired Mr. Pollard, experienced
                              an                         and family
                                           localcontractor
acquaintance,alongwith an architect.
                                   The Brydenslinedup their mortgage,got
approvalfrom the township  and nearbyconservation        and had the
                                                authority,
landsurveyed.
                                        whileLori'smotherstayedin
Theymovedinto a traveltrailerin July2OO2,
     workshop. olderhousehad beenmovedbut needed new foundation
Rick's       The                                       a
and hydroconnection.
           began,
Construction     with township        visiting ensure
                              officials       to     the Ontario
       codewas beingfollowed.
building
But work stoppedin December 20A2after a paymentdisputebetweenMr.
      and
Pollard the Brydens'  bank,
Meanwhile, Brydens
           the     hiredan engineer inspect house.
                                  to      the       Three
         geotechnical, building
structural,         and                   followed.
                              codeengineers
The reportsdiscuss building                   and
                            code,measurement structural    issues that need
         especially the basement.
attention,         in                              someof their findings
                                     Rickhighlighted
duringan hour-long tour of the unfinishedtwo-storeyhouse,whichremains
                    at
opento the elements several    pointsand is surrounded discarded
                                                      by           wood,
styrofoam, and cinderblocks.
Mr. Pollard
          eventuallysuedthe Brydens recoverpaymentfrom 2002, arguing
                                     to
duringa two-weektrial that any required      couldbe madeduringthe final
                                       repairs
framingprocess,and that other structuralchanges                 by
                                               had beenrequested the
Brydens.
In February, Brockville
             a           SuperiorCourtjudge agreedwith the plaintiff,after
testimonyfrom engineers    and workers,The Brydensowe $78,000as a result,
plusthe trial'slegalbills.

Loriand Ricksaid20 per cent of their wageshavebeengarnisheed part of
                                                                as
the payment process. Pollard
                    Mr.         has now put a lienon the two houses well,
                                                                   as
sayinghe has no choice to auction
                      but            them.
He offereda settlementbeforethe trial but it was refused,Mr. Pollardsaid in a
telephoneinterview.  Any questions
                                 abouthis company's   work were addressed
duringthe trial, he said.
The Brydens want nothingmore than to see work resumeon the new house,
whichis withoutplumbing,                   or       A
                                 insulation, drywall. contractor
                          heating,                              has
estimatedthat the houseneedsabout$250,000 majorwork, whichthe judge
                                             in
ruledrestswith the family.
The Brydens  spendhundreds dollarseach month heatingthe basement
                           of                                        to
preventfrost and cracks.They'vealso continuedmortgageand propertytax
payments five years. But a warrantywith Tarion,the privatecorporation
          for
that insuresnew homebuyersin Ontario,  beginsonly when,or if, they move in,
The Brydens not qualifyfor Tarioncompensation
           do                                      they owe the
                                             because
         moneyand the houseremains
contractor                          openand incomplete, spokesman
                                                      said
RobMitchell.
"The (warrantyprogram)was neverdesigned intervene situations
                                        to       in        were
people              in        arrears."
       findthemselves financial
                                             unusualcircumstance,"
A lack of written contractis an "exceptionally                   Mr.
Mitchelladdedyesterday.
Meanwhile, Rideau LakesTownshiphas postedordersto stop work and prevent
occupation, demanding repairsto severaldefectsbeforefurther construction
occurs. The Brydenssay they receivedthe list of neededrepairsin December
               it
after requesting for months.
The Brydens' biggestsourceof frustrationis why construction
                                                          was approvedin
2OO2, onlyto havethe township  condemn houseas unsafe
                                        the                 underdifferent
       officials,
building        basedon the engineering  reports,
        is         for              Ricksaid."Wedon't feel it should
"Somebody responsible thesemistakes,"
beus."
A lawsuit     the      wouldlikelycostthe Brydens
        against township                        another$100,000,
he added.
RonHolman, mayorof Rideau Lakes  Township,                   with the
                                            saidhe sympathized
       predicament
Brydens'          and that his office'seffortshad been"openand
transparent."
But he added:"There'sno way I couldjustify that the taxpayersof Rideau
Lakesshouldbe responsible any portion"of potential
                         for                          compensation.
The mayorsaidthe civilcourt rulingagainst
                                        the Brydens assigned  no
             to
responsibility RideauLakes.Building code issueshave beensatisfied, said
                                                                   he
                    postedthe unsafebuildingorder after an indication
and townshipofficials                                               the
house was aboutto be occupied.
The townshipwas waitingfor a responsefrom the Brydensafter sendingthem a
             repairs
list of needed      last month,saidMr. Holman.
        received contractor's
Officials       the           estimatebut have not heard backfrom the
Brydens  aboutscheduling privatemeeting discuss
                       a               to                    he
                                                 legalissues, said.
The Brydensdenyany unwillingness meettownship
                              to                        That includes
                                               officials.
severalappeals Mr. Holmanand other councillors
             to                              aboutthe OntarioBuilding
Code.
"We havefallenthrougheach and every crack,"said Rick."All we ever wanted
was a housethat wouldsuit our lives."
The situationhas left one observerwonderinghow a housecouldbe approved
and eventuallycondemned virtuallythe samestageof construction.
                           at

              is
"It definitely one of the crazieststorieswe've ever heard,"said Karen
Somerville, president Canadians Properly
                      of           for         BuiltHomes, Ottawa-based
                                                           an
organization callingfor strongerprovincialactionto protectnew homeowners.
Print Story - canada.com
                       network                                http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id:b6d5 -4...
                                                                                                           8438-0645


         She has writtento MunicipalAffairsMinister
                                                  Jim Watsonand Government   and
         Consumer Services        Ted McMeekin
                           Minister              and has askedthe Townshipof
         Rideau       to
               Lakes clarifywhy the housewas approvedin 2002 but later deemed
         unsafe.
         So far, the government
                              response              the Brydens,
                                      hasn'tsatisfied          who say their file
         has beenshuffledbetweenministries.
         The Brydenshave beenadvisedto move away and forget aboutthe land. But
         they'vevowedto continue                                     propertythat
                                  their fight for the horseshoe-shaped
         abutsa quiet pond: the "centreof the universe,"          to
                                                          according Rick.
                                 to
         Lori has beenapproached run for the Liberals Leeds-Grenville
                                                     in                duringthe
                             But she has more importantthingsto take care of in the
         next federalelection.
         meantime.
         "I probablyneeda houseto live in first," she said.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:5
posted:8/24/2011
language:English
pages:4