Group of Embrun residents claim nearby construction damaged their homes

A group of Embrun residents is looking for answers after claiming a number of homes were allegedly damaged during construction.

At least six residents on Dignard Street in Embrun have noticed cracks in their foundation, exterior brick walls, basement and garage floors or cracked picture frames. The home owners claim the issues starting popping up in mid- Summer, after construction began on a main road less than one block away.

“You could feel the vibration,” said Dignard resident Jennifer Verville. “You could see the water moving in the glass; our kitchen cabinets and our dishes were shaking.”

Verville moved into her home on Dignard Street in June 2016 and said the pre-purchase inspection found nothing wrong but a lose screw on an electrical panel. She said she started seeing cracks appearing after construction started on nearby St. Pierre Street.

“I’ve only had the house a year ago June, and I can’t afford to fix it myself,” she said.

Verville’s neighbor, Lori Green, has had similar problems. She said there is a crack at least four foot tall on her exterior brick wall along with a number of large cracks in her basement’s cement floor.

“Damage was done and somebody needs to take responsibility for what was not caused by the owners,” Green said.

An engineering company did follow-up on the claims but found the issues were “highly unlikely” to have been caused by construction.

“Based on our site observations, the estimated level of vibration induced by the construction equipment onsite as well as our professional experience, it is highly unlikely that construction activities carried out … would have caused the purported damages,” Blastek Engineering Group wrote in a letter sent to some Dignard Street residents.

“An analysis of this claim allows us to determine that the conditions at X Dignard are not construction related and are moreover a function of normal wear and subsequent maintenance issues experienced by individual home owners,” the letter goes on to say.

The town’s mayor said the job to build infrastructure necessary to build a new subdivision was contracted out. He said the city is aware of at least one construction related complaint from a Dignard Street resident but said the issue is between the home owner and the construction company. Mayor Pierre Leroux said the city is not looking into the issue and urged the residents to check with their insurance company.

“I would call my insurance company. I think that is the role of the insurance company. If the insurance company says it was not normal wear and tear and that it was caused by the construction company, I believe that is the route they should take,” said Mayor Leroux.

“There was homes on St. Pierre that were evaluated or had home inspections as well, my understanding is that there was no damage right on the road that the construction took place,” he added.

CTV News reached out to Blastek Engineering and the company contracted out to do the construction but has yet to hear back.

The residents plan to take their concerns to city council later this month.

What exactly caused the residents’ problems is unclear.