The official opposition in Montreal is calling for the establishment of an aid program that would support citizens struggling with cracks in the foundations of their homes.
A problem that would be caused by clay soils, particularly present in the southeast of the island.
“It causes several problems for citizens, since when the clay dries, the ground sags, which puts pressure on the foundations of the houses, which end up cracking,” explained Julien Hénault-Ratelle, city councilor. in Tétreaultville for Ensemble Montréal, the opposition party.
To this end, he will propose a motion, at the next meeting of the municipal council, to request the creation of a financial assistance program “for awareness-raising work on the foundations of residential buildings”. At the same time, Ensemble Montréal would like the City to study the possibility of regulating the level of vibrations near construction sites.
Photo Felix Lacerte-Gauthier
“This is an issue that has been around for a long time in Montreal, but experts expect that with climate change, the pressure will increase and the situation will deteriorate,” added Mr. Hénault-Ratelle.
He indicates that the owners do not have all the financial means to carry out the necessary work, the cost of which can fluctuate between $50,000 and $80,000 per house.
Currently, owners can turn to the Rénoplex program. However, it funds many types of work.
“There is no prioritization within the requests. Urgent situations are combined with all the others. There is also a very strong demand: within six months, the money for the program was spent, which meant that it ended,” summarized Mr. Hénault-Ratelle.
Living with the problem
For the occasion, Mr. Hénault-Ratelle was accompanied by a little more than fifteen owners from his district, all struggling with the same problem.
“Since July 2021, we are hundreds of citizens waking up overnight with cracks in our foundation, in our brick, cracks all over our house inside, doors and windows that do not close. more and subsidence of the ground”, illustrated Justin Addison Thibault, resident of the sector.
Photo Felix Lacerte-Gauthier
According to him, nearly a thousand people in the borough would experience this problem. He explains that the requests to the municipal administration have remained a dead letter.
“We, with the expert’s report, were in the same period as the industrial work at Cours Bellerive, which brings a lot of vibrations. We were several neighbors to have had the same situation, ”he explained.
Also present, Stéphanie Gauthier had set up a petition with just over 400 names. At home, “all of a sudden, we arrive at our house, we enter the living room, and we see a big diagonal crack that has appeared. We realize that the more it goes, the more it grows. In the days that followed, after that, we saw the ceiling and the garage door which started to crack,” she recalled.
For her, the cost of repairs amounted to about $ 60,000, not including the necessary preparatory work. Amounts that the insurance companies refused to reimburse.
Jean Saint-Pierre, he is sorry to have been obliged to bring the house down. The problem, according to him, due to the presence of a large maple tree which dried out the soil near his home. “We had to put $150,000 to $200,000 to maintain it, but that doesn’t make a new house, we would still have the same problem,” he said.
Sufficient according to Montreal
For its part, the Plante administration is proud of the RénoPlex and Réno affordable housing programs, which were implemented in 2020.
“The work on the foundations, including the piling, is covered by the current programs of the City and their treatment can already be prioritized if the situation is dangerous”, indicated Marikym Gaudreault, press officer in the office of the mayor.
“We are aware and sensitive to the fact that climate change will have a growing impact on soil stability, especially in clayey contexts. We have had discussions on this subject with citizens and Quebec in order to better help Montrealers deal with these hazards, ”she also added.
She believes that the debates to come at the municipal council will make it possible to “feed” the reflection.
However, the Plante administration is disappointed that the Quebec government has cut funding for renovation programs, which will drop from $7 million to $4 million.