Ottawa city council has finally approved plans to demolish 18 town homes on Sunland Drive in Fallingbrook along with two additional homes on nearby Orchardview Avenue.
The 20 homes were identified by city engineers as being severely impacted by shifting ground settle-ment caused by a large trunk sewer line that passes under the homes.
|The City of Ottawa has earmarked $1.7 million to demolish 18 homes on Sunland Drive and two homes on Orchardview Ave. in South Fallingbrook. FILE PHOTO
When the sewer line was built in the 1980s, marine clay was used to fill in the excavation. Because of its unstable nature, the clay has caused the ground and the homes built on top to shift, causing them to crack in several places.
In order to remedy the problem and avoid expensive lawsuits, the city decided to purchase 10 of the homes offering the homeowners a generous buyout and compensa-tion. The plan was to fix the ground problem, repair the homes and then resell them. But when more homeowners came forward with similar complaints and asking for a similar buyout deal, the city decid-ed to take a different course.
The new plan called for the city to purchase 10 additional homes at an estimated cost of $3.6 million. It is not known how much the city paid for the initial 10 homes, but it is thought to be in the same vicinity of $3.6 million. The last of the homes was purchased in 2019.
The city now plans to demolish three blocks of town homes on Sunland Drive, consisting of 18 homes, and two houses on Orchardview. It will then excavate the ground around the homes, replace the marine clay with more stable fill and then sell the land to a developer who will rebuild on top of the remediated soil.
On July 15, city council gave the plan, which will cost an estimated $1.7 million, the green light.
The plan has many homeowners still living on Sunland and nearby Lauzon Street, which backs onto Sunland, extremely worried.
Homeowners like Jim Kowbel, who lives on Lauzon, are concerned that the demolition will damage their own homes and they’re worried about how long it may take before the demolished homes are replaced by new homes.
“What’s going to be left in the interim?” asks Kowbel. “Are they just going to leave a bunch of gravel surrounded by an orange construction fence?”
Aside from the threat of possible damage to their homes, Kowbel and many of his neighbours are worried about the construction traffic the demolition will create and the potential negative impact on their property values.
They would like to see the city turn the land into a greenspace while they are waiting for a potential developer to rebuild which could take several years.
“We’re not looking for them to turn it into a park, just cover it with some grass so it’s not a blight on the neighbourhood,” suggests Kowbel.
A Facebook group was created on July 6 to help keep residents abreast of what’s going on. It currently has 51 members.
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