LRT un­der­ground con­struc­tion may be dam­ag­ing area homes

Res­i­dents con­cerned af­ter sev­eral say they have found cracks in their walls

North Toronto Post - - News - — Sa­man­tha Peksa

First came the noise, then the vi­bra­tions. Now, some lo­cals in the Eglin­ton Av­enue West and Av­enue Road area are ad­dress­ing dam­ages al­legedly caused by Metrolinx’s Crosstown light rail tran­sit (LRT) project.

Lo­cal res­i­dent Gra­ham Sil­ver claims he has found cracks in walls, base­boards and win­dow frames of his home on Dun­can­non Drive that he said weren’t there be­fore the LRT bor­ing ma­chines started drilling in the area. Ac­cord­ing to Sil­ver, two Metrolinx of­fi­cials did at­tend his home to take pho­tos and as­sess the dam­age, which he said amounted to roughly $800. Since then, he said it has got­ten much worse.

“Over the last cou­ple weeks, I’ve had more and more cracks, and now my drive­way has dropped where my air con­di­tioner is.”

Metrolinx spokesper­son Jamie Robin­son said the tran­sit com­pany doc­u­mented the con­di­tion of each prop­erty on Eglin­ton prior to the tun­nelling that be­gan in 2013, to serve as a tool to eval­u­ate the im­pact caused by the drilling.

Kozeta Izeti said she filed a claim in Jan­uary for $2,500, when the roof of her sec­ond-floor apart­ment above her salon at 573 Eglin­ton Ave. W. shifted, caus­ing wa­ter dam­age and a large crack to ap­pear in one of her walls. For­tu­nately, Izeti said the sur­veys made it easy to ver­ify the claim, al­though she has still not re­ceived any com­pen­sa­tion. Res­i­dences to the north and south of Eglin­ton, how­ever, were not in­cluded in what Robin­son calls “pre­con­di­tioned sur­veys.” Yet many res­i­dents in the sur­round­ing neigh­bour­hoods have com­plained of per­sis­tent pound­ing and vi­bra­tions in the past few months.

Joanne Crocker, also lives on Dun­can­non Drive and said she, too, has felt vi­bra­tions that have rat­tled the fur­ni­ture and made it dif­fi­cult to sleep. Crocker said she has also found long cracks in­side her home.

Sil­ver ar­gues that po­ten­tial dam­age to nearby res­i­dences should have been taken into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore tun­nelling com­menced.

“They know they’re go­ing through an older part of the city. My house was built in the ’30s, so it was not built with the same ma­te­ri­als that they use to­day,” he said.

Robin­son ac­knowl­edged the age of the home could be a con­tribut­ing fac­tor as well as the type of ge­ol­ogy in the area.

Al­though the tran­sit project was com­mis­sioned by the prov­ince of Ontario, Sil­ver said he has found the onus to be on lo­cal homeowners to ap­peal to Metrolinx for com­pen­sa­tion. How­ever Robin­son said it’s a nec­es­sary in­con­ve­nience that is re­quired in or­der for Metrolinx to ver­ify each claim.

“The bur­den of proof falls on [the claimant] to prove it was as a re­sult of our work that the dam­age has been caused,” he said.

Al­though he would not share how many prop­erty own­ers have come for­ward with dam­ages, Robin­son did state he has heard quotes much higher than $800.

Sil­ver is still wait­ing to find out if he will re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion.

Gra­ham Sil­ver said he has found cracks in his home on Dun­can­non Drive

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