Homeowners on Balsam and Connaught avenues, neighbours to the city’s new Tim Hortons Field stadium, recently noticed a new feature to the paint job on their cars:
Tiny, but all over, spatters and dots of white and grey paint.
As workers hustled to get the city’s new Tim Hortons Field ready to host Monday’s Labour Day Classic, they applied paint to the stadium’s pillars, walkways and seating areas.
And, unwittingly, to neighbourhood cars, verandas and patio furniture.
Neighbours now guess workers didn’t properly tarp their work area, nor account for the wind’s power as they generated clouds of paint. The overspray hit their cars and patio furniture a little over a week ago.
And, they wonder, how much paint did they breathe in without the protective respirators they saw workers wearing?
It was the latest blow in a months-long saga of living next to a high-profile construction project running behind schedule. The paint spatters come after sleepless nights due to blaring lights and jarring noise, after maneuvering around piles of construction debris and repaving projects.
'These people think we're a bunch of whiners'
They all knew they were moving into a stadium neighbourhood when they bought their houses, but the tolerance they’d built up after living near the old Ivor Wynne Stadium has been overwhelmed by recent events.
“These people (contractors) think we’re a bunch of whiners, but they’re not living here 24/7,” said Steve Rebellato, in whose backyard a handful of neighbours gathered on Labour Day before the big game to commiserate about the paint issue.
“It just seemed like it went to total disregard” for the people living across the street from the stadium, he said.
A week ago Sunday, a few of them marched down to the police station to file a report for any insurance claims that might be filed in the future.
'With all this rush, rush and rush there’s all these oversights. Overlooking precautions so this neighbourhood’s people and property are protected.' - Steve Rebellato, resident on Balsam Avenue North
One of them, Lynda Spencer, bought her Toronto Corolla new last year. When she talked to the painting contractor, Vince Agostino from Miranda Painting Inc., he recommended she get a quote for how much the repainting job would be.
The estimate: $2,900. An autobody shop will probably be able to buff the paint spatters off the car’s body, she was told, but all the black trim would need to be replaced.
“I guess it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Spencer said.
Agostino did not return a call Monday for comment. Nor did site supervisor Garreth Barkey for Ontario Sports Solutions.
Spencer has spent a few wee hours over the last few months marching around the construction site to ask workers to pull the plug after 1 a.m., after the midnight deadline when extended construction hours are supposed to end.
'All this rush, rush and rush'
The problem isn’t restricted to Balsam Avenue. In the next block, Dwayne and Maura Handley found overspray on both of their vehicles, including Dwayne’s Ford F-150 truck.
They got an estimate to repaint that vehicle: It’ll run $5,400.
And when someone from Miranda Painting came by their house to hear their complaint, the Handleys say they got an unexpected offer:
“They offered to paint our house,” Dwayne Handley said.
Rebellato said he got the same offer. He didn’t know if the painters meant they’d paint his house instead of dealing with his car, but he feared the implication.
The problems with the noise, paint and general inconsiderateness sent him on a couple of unfettered tirades on social media recently. He warned his language tends toward the colourful in them, but they’re a symptom of how frustrated he’s become.
“With all this rush, rush and rush there’s all these oversights,” Rebellato said. “Overlooking precautions so this neighbourhood’s people and property are protected.”
Ty Parker, who also lives on Connaught, wondered aloud if the same outcome would've happened "in a little more upscale neighbourhood."
Monday morning, Spencer was still hoping to enjoy the game. A few family members and friends arrived at her house across from the stadium to eat lunch before kick-off. Her niece bought her a ticket for Christmas, and Spencer hoped she’d be able to put the construction frustration behind her.
She still planned to cheer for the Tiger-Cats.
“I know it’s not the players’ fault,” she said.