Saint-La­zare gives Bas­sen­den fa­mi­ly 100 ad­di­tio­nal days

Town re­sol­ved to fol­low through on court re­mo­val de­ci­sion

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

BThe Town of Saint-La­zare has gran­ted ano­ther ex­ten­sion for hu­ma­ni­ta­rian rea­sons to a fa­mi­ly li­ving in a mo­bile home on their pro­per­ty even though town by-laws pro­hi­bit such per­ma­nent ar­ran­ge­ments.

ut Saint-La­zare’s ad­mi­nis­tra­tion is re­so­lute in its de­ci­sion to fol­low through with a court ap­pro­ved jud­ge­ment af­ter the ex­ten­sion, and to ma­king sure the fa­mi­ly re­moves the mo­bile home they’ve li­ved in for the past 36-months af­ter their home was des­troyed by fire.

The Le­duc St. land ow­ned by Al­len Bas­sen­den is zo­ned for a single fa­mi­ly home on­ly, ac­cor­ding to Saint-La­zare’s by-laws.

The ex­ten­sion means Bas­sen­den has un­til June 30 to vo­lun­ta­ri­ly move out of the mo­bile home.

As the ow­ner of the land, he can le­gal­ly build a single-fa­mi­ly home on the lot.

Saint-La­zare does not want to for­ce­ful­ly re­move the fa­mi­ly from the tem­po­ra­ry home, Town Ma­na­ger Serge Trem­blay said, ad­ding the spe­ci­fics about how to re­move the fa­mi­ly should they re­fuse to leave have not been de­ci­ded upon.

We want them to leave vo­lun­ta­ri­ly, he ad­ded.

Bas­sen­den cur­rent­ly lives in the ol­der mo­bile home with his adult daugh­ter and tee­na­ged grand­daugh­ter. It is un­clear if his wife is still li­ving in the trai­ler.

The Town held a press con­fe­rence Mon­day in what it cal­led a fi­nal at­tempt to convince Bas­sen­den to leave the home of his own free will.

Bas­sen­den al­so met with the town’s lawyer Mon­day mor­ning where he was in­for­med about the ex­ten­sion, as well as the loo­ming dead­line to va­cate.

Steve Fla­na­gan, a pu­blic re­la­tions ex­pert hi­red by the Town to over­see the file, says the ad­mi­nis­tra­tion gran­ted the 100-day ex­ten­sion so the fa­mi­ly won’t be for­ced to move during cold win­ter months.

A Su­pe­rior Court judg­ment upheld the town’s right to re­move the fa­mi­ly from the mo­bile home as ear­ly as March 21.

“The Town has de­mons­tra­ted both com­pas­sion and pa­tience since the ve­ry be­gin­ning,” Fla­na­gan no­ted, ad­ding that af­ter “al­most three years of de­lays and le­gal pro­ce­dures, it is now up to them to take their res­pon­si­bi­li­ties and ei­ther con­form to the mu­ni­ci­pal by-laws, leave or move their mo­bile home.”

Of­fers of help

Bas­sen­den has been figh­ting with the Town since his home bur­ned down on March 22, 2011. He fi­led an al­most $800,000 ne­gli­gence law­suit against then Mayor Pierre Ka­ry and the town’s fire de­part­ment, al­le­ging the fire de­part­ment was­ted time in ex­tin­gui­shing the fire. The claim did not hold up in court. At the same time Bas­sen­den fi­led a law­suit against his in­su­rance company, which paid his outs­tan­ding mort­gage but did not pay to re­place the home. The in­su­rer al­leges Bas­sen­den had been ope­ra­ting an unau­tho­ri­zed au­to me­cha­nic ser­vice out of the home at the time of the fire. Bas­sen­den dis­putes the claim, saying he on­ly did work on cars ow­ned by fa­mi­ly or friends.

Since his home

bur­ned

down, Bas­sen­den has been hel­ped by people who col­lec­ted mo­ney, food and goods for the fa­mi­ly. And Saint-La­zare equip­ment ren­tal company Tri-Tool clea­red his lot of the fire de­bris for free last year, while a lo­cal contrac­tor step­ped for­ward with an of­fer to re­build the home free of charge if he could se­cure do­na­tions of buil­ding sup­plies. Bas­sen­den la­ter ac­cu­sed the contrac­tor of wrong doing and the of­fer fell through. Bas­sen­den says he has no way to pay for a new home since he and his adult daugh­ter are both unem­ployed. His wife, Jo­ni Mal­ley, is al­le­ged­ly the sole fi­nan­cial pro­vi­der for the fa­mi­ly.

Ex­ten­sions

And now Saint-La­zare of­fi­cials say they’ve had enough, ad­ding other re­si­dents in­clu­ding Bas­sen­den’s neigh­bours, de­serve a cer­tain qua­li­ty of life, too. The Town has gran­ted the fa­mi­ly “nu­me­rous com­pro­mises and dead­line ex­ten­sions” during the past 36-months, while al­so spen­ding more than $36,000 re­spon­ding to Bas­sen­den’s charges, or fi­ling their own in a bid to com­pel him to com­ply with town re­gu­la­tions.

Trem­blay and lawyer and Town Clerk Na­tha­ly Ray­neault have de­vo­ted en­tire days to the dos­sier, Fla­na­gan no­ted. Sit­ting be­fore Ray­neault during Mon­day’s mee­ting were five files each inches thick that she has amas­sed during the 36-month long struggle.

Town Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Di­rec­tor Ge­ne­viève Ha­mel said Bas­sen­den and his daugh­ter were gi­ven a book­let in­di­ca­ting the nu­me­rous pu­blic ser­vice agen­cies that could help them if they were to leave the mo­bile home.

“But they have to ask for the help,” she said.

The Town says Bas­sen­den still owns his land, and can conti­nue to live on it, though not in a mo­bile home.

For his part, Bas­sen­den at­temp­ted to gain en­try in­to the 2 p.m. press con­fe­rence Mon­day, but was told it was for me­dia on­ly. He has main­tai­ned that he will re­fuse all at­tempts to move out of the trai­ler he now oc­cu­pies.

PHO­TO BY DAVID MAY, COUR­TE­SY OF THE HUDSON ST. PA­TRICK’S DAY PA­RADE COM­MIT­TEE

Ste­pha­nie Ken­ne­dy (centre) was crow­ned queen of the 5th an­nual Hudson St. Pa­trick’s Day Pa­rade, ta­king place on March 15, while To­ni Nes­bitt, Shannon Mar­chand, Alan­nagh Ma­ciw, and Tif­fa­ny Blouin were na­med prin­cesses.

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