Expert Appraiser Says West Windsor Boarded Up Homes Devastated Property Values

,A Windsor judge is hearing expert evidence today in a lawsuit over the value of properties next to the boarded-up homes owned by the Ambassador Bridge.

The estate of 95-year-old Stephen Charborek is seeking damages of $16.5-million for the impact of the blight created when the bridge company bought over 100 homes along Indian, Edison and Bloomfield Roads for a proposed twinning of the span.

Those homes are now boarded up and decaying as the plan to expand the bridge remains in limbo.

Expert Windsor appraiser Ray Bower is testifying for the complainant, explaining the impact of what he terms "external obsolesce."

He compared the sales of 72 properties next to the boarded up homes to the average across the city.

Overall, Bower says the values dropped significantly, with the only difference being the urban decay caused by the bridge's homes.

He pointed to one specific home on Indian Rd that sold for $130,000 in 2005, then for $72,000 in 2009.

By Bower's calculation it lost over 40-percent in value compared to a similar home elsewhere in the city.

The bridge company will put its own Toronto-based expert on the stand tomorrow.

But court was told the 2 experts compared notes and the differential is not expected to be large. (The comparing process was called "hot tubbing")

Final arguments are schedule for next week.

4 more similar lawsuits have also been filed against the Ambassador Bridge.