Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pay homeowners: Eadie

Freeway work cited in houses' damage

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Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie is calling on Winnipeg to compensate two homeowners who claim their properties suffered damage from freeway construction.

On Wednesday, the city released a report that estimates Winnipeg will save close to $48 million by building the new Disraeli Bridges through a public-private partnership.

Deloitte & Touche prepared a value-for-money assessment of the $195-million project and determined the public-private partnership will save an estimated $47.7 million, or 17 per cent compared to more traditional approaches.

Plenary Roads Winnipeg, a consortium of construction companies and engineering consulting companies, was in charge of designing, building and maintaining the bridge for 30 years. Financing is being shared by the city and the private consortium.

Eadie said he would like to see Winnipeg devote part of the savings to settle claims with two North Point Douglas families who allege their properties were damaged by the construction. He said city officials have told the two Disraeli Street homeowners Plenary Roads Winnipeg is liable for any construction damage, not the City of Winnipeg.

Georgina Wood claims all of the shaking and pounding from the construction caused her Disraeli Street home to shift and left cracks all over the walls. She said "pictures fell off the walls" when a gravel truck tipped over in front of the home, noting the 111-year-old home is located right across from where heavy equipment pounded bridge piles into the ground.

She said she and her husband need to have the kitchen and front porch reinforced with new piles. While she believes the damage was caused by the bridge construction, Plenary Roads Winnipeg told her the shifts were caused by dry soil conditions.

"They don't have money for a lawyer, they don't have money to fix the house. If there's that much savings, someone should call the P3 and say, 'Settle with them,' " Eadie said.

City spokeswoman Tammy Melesko said the city budgeted for the exact cost of the project and does not have leftover funds. She said the value-for-money assessment compares what Winnipeg saved by building the bridge through a public-private partnership, as opposed to other traditional methods.

Wood said she is in the process of getting a damage estimate and finding a lawyer to follow up on her claim.

"The shaking from the pounding of the piles and all the heavy-duty construction equipment caused shifting and damage. I have cracks all over the house," Wood said.

"It's a lot of damage."

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2013 B2

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