The opposition to the Hôtel de Ville de Montréal demands that the Plante administration increase the financial assistance granted to the owners of cracked houses.
Owner of a plex on rue Taillon, in Mercier-Est, Justin Addison Thibault received a call from one of his tenants last year about cracks that suddenly appeared in his apartment. He then noticed the presence of deep cracks in the foundations of the house, as well as a huge crack which also affected the three neighboring buildings. “Since July 2021, hundreds of citizens have woken up overnight with cracks in our foundations, our bricks and all over our houses, inside, with windows that no longer close. »
These cracks are attributable to the clay soil on which the houses in the area rest, but other phenomena are also involved, according to him, including the major construction sites nearby, in particular that of the Cours Bellerive condos. “Of course the droughts didn’t help, but that’s not the only cause,” he believes.
Homeowners struggling with cracked houses can benefit from financial assistance from the City and the Quebec government through the municipal RénoPlex program. But according to the councilor of Ensemble Montréal for the district of Tétreaultville, Julien Hénault-Ratelle, this is not enough, given the high cost of the work required, in particular the installation of piles, which can reach $80,000 per building.
In a motion to be submitted to the next city council meeting on April 25, Ensemble Montréal is asking the City to create a program exclusively reserved for foundation stabilization work, as the RénoPlex program is not deemed sufficient.
Last year, the City had to suspend the filing of program files given the excessive number of requests received.
Ensemble Montréal also wants the City to ask the Government of Québec to improve the Rénovation Québec program. And to limit damage to homes, the opposition party would like the City to regulate vibration levels from public and private construction sites, as Toronto does. He suggests mandating the Commission on Economic and Urban Development and Housing to examine this issue.
Julien Hénault-Ratelle maintains that the problems related to clay soil are not specific to the east of Montreal and affect other neighborhoods, such as Ville-Marie and Plateau-Mont-Royal. “We expect this to be a generalized situation across the island of Montreal,” he said.
The Plante administration points out that the City has implemented new programs in 2020, RénoPlex and Réno Logement Affordable, which have improved the support offered to landlords. “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,” said Marikym Gaudreault, press officer in the office of Mayor Plante.
However, the City says it is aware that climate change will have a growing impact on the stability of clay soils. The debates that will take place at the next meeting of the municipal council will feed its reflection, it is reported.
“However, our administration is disappointed that Quebec, our partner in funding these programs, reduced funding for renovation programs in the last budget, reducing them from $7 million to $4 million for all of Quebec,” however underlined Mme Gaudreault.