Winnipeg man living 'nightmare' as trees damage house
Engineering firm says trees should be removed from boulevard by Greg McVicker's Transcona home
A Winnipeg man says his home is slowly collapsing because eight mature trees, owned by the city, are damaging the house's foundation.
The floors are heaving, the stairs are slanting and the door frames are tilting in every direction inside Greg McVicker's house in Transcona.
"It's been an absolute nightmare," McVicker told CBC News.
"You wake up every morning wondering, 'Is this your last day in this home?'"
McVicker said the walls are moving inwards and separating from the ceiling and floors, but that's not all.
"The furnace has separated from the floor, the shower's separated from the wall, the toilet's sitting at an angle," he said.
"The cracking and and the shifting noises that you hear in this home. Like, you hear bangs going on, noting that the house is dropping further."
Structural assessment done
McVicker, who moved into the two-storey house in 2006 with his two children, said he had a structural assessment of the house done after he noticed the stairs shifting in October.
The assessment report by Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd., a structural engineering consulting firm, identified the trees as a factor.
The inspectors also noted that the predominant underlying soil in the area is a "highly plastic clay" that can cause heaving and settling as the soil moisture changes.
"The presence of large mature trees exacerbates the drying [effects] and increases the potential for damaging settlement to occur," the report states.
The engineering firm concluded that "the trees along the boulevard should be removed systematically" so the impact on the foundation can be monitored.
No response from city in months
McVicker filed a damage claim in December and included the engineering report. A City of Winnipeg claims adjuster and structural engineer visited the house on Jan. 9.
But since then, and despite repeated calls to the city, McVicker said he hasn't heard anything.
"It's infuriating, it's frustrating and it's terrifying, because what happens if this house completely collapses?" he said.
"Will it take a fatality for the City of Winnipeg to actually do something?"
Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt says the city's response of three months "is a little lengthy for any claim."
"There is no reason they shouldn't be acting on the claim," Wyatt said Monday.
A city spokesperson would not comment on individual claims but told CBC News there is no timeline on damage investigations or when final decisions are made.
The spokesperson did confirm that four similar cases have been reported in the past 10 years.
Removing a city-owned tree without the city's approval is not recommended, as that could result in a penalty of thousands of dollars depending on the species, size and condition of the tree.
McVicker said he wants the city to remove the trees so he can begin to repair his home.
The repairs to the basement and foundation alone are estimated at $61,000, he said.
With files from the CBC's Jill Coubrough