Basement sewage case still oozes on
City stopped the worst floods, but hasn't reimbursed the half million in damages, homeowner says
It’s been over a year since a report by Toronto’s ombudsman blamed the city outright for the damages to Shondra Nauth’s home.
Nauth, over the last eight years, has had to endure overflowing sewage in her basement, structural damage to the walls, unsafe mould levels from the basement up to the top floor at her Wilson Heights Boulevard home.
So what has transpired since the city was found to be at fault?
Well, from Nauth’s perspective, nothing.
She has moved out of the home after bringing in a mould expert who said it wasn’t safe to live there. She now rents a home in Aurora, where she needs the help of a breathing machine while she sleeps.
There haven’t been any floods since the city installed a holding tank underneath her street, which is emptied every other day otherwise Nauth says the floods would continue. Ironically, she says the company hired by the city to install that tank was the same company it had hired to install the original piping that caused the 18 floods to her basement.
While the sewage floods have ceased, water still seeps into her basement through the weeping tile every time it rains.
Nauth has been going after the city for the money to reimburse her for the now nearly half a million dollars she’s put into repairs related to the floods — not counting the legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses from collateral damage to her home and costs of moving. But she says the city has been slow to respond to her.
And after a 2010 evaluation by the city of the cost of the damages to her home came up the same as a previous evaluation done three years before — when there had been 10 fewer floods — Nauth decided she’d had enough of the various arbitration meetings and lowball offers, and decided to sue the city.
She says since launching her multi-million-dollar lawsuit that was reported in the Town Crier in January, the city has been ignoring her, save for one meeting where she was questioned by a city lawyer.
So after years of begging the city to help her fix their mistake just by reimbursing her, Nauth now has a question for the city.
“They’re emptying that holding tank every other day, (spending) money on lawyers, money on mediators,” she said over the phone while checking in on her mould-infested home. “I want to know how much money they’ve spent on this case trying not to pay me.”
Back in January, Nauth had said Mayor Rob Ford had offered to meet with her in February, but since she launched a lawsuit against the city, she says Ford has told her he can’t do anything with her case before the courts.
Nauth says Ford’s advice to her was to sell her home to the city. But the city also appraised her home in 2010, and Nauth says they came up with a number that is well below actual market value.
So now she has an offer to the mayor.
“If the mayor will sell his house to me for half price, I will sell mine for half price, and move into his house,” she said. “Do I want to run away from my dream home?”
After nine years now, Nauth says she feels stuck between a rock and a hard place.
When she first went to litigation, she claims a city lawyer told her the city could drag the case out as long as they had to. Now, she feels like that’s exactly what’s going on.
“This has been going on forever and nobody is paying me any money,” she said. “I don’t know what to do now, where do I turn? I’m still in this mess.”
Nauth says her and her lawyer have not been able to get in touch with the city lawyer since February, when she was questioned.
“This is not fair. How long do I sit here and wait?” she asked. “In the meantime, my life has been on hold for nine years.”
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