Val Caron senior fed up with real estate red tape

An elderly woman in Val Caron says she can't sell her home because she doesn't own part of her front yard, including the driveway.

Mariette Fontaine's attempts to sell property foiled by roadway deal between city and original owner

Mariette Fontaine has been trying to sell her home for the last two years, but cannot because a portion of her property including some of the driveway belongs to someone else. She's currently in negotiations with them so she can buy the property and sell her home. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

An elderly woman in Val Caron says she can't sell her home because she doesn't own part of her front yard, including the driveway.

She says she's fed up with the red tape she's encountered trying to solve the problem.

“I'm not going to give up, that's it. I'm going to keep on going,” said 71-year-old Mariette Fontaine, standing on her front lawn, which is covered in picket signs and yellow tape.

Fontaine has been protesting on the property along Municipal Road 80 for an entire month.

Fontaine has severe arthritis and wants to sell her house so she can move into a retirement home.

But she can't because she's found out she doesn't own a triangular piece of land at the front of her property.

“Technically, I have no access at all to my house or to the garage,” she said.

Original ownership belongs to subdivider

City of Greater Sudbury spokesperson Paul Baskcomb noted it's not uncommon for people to encounter issues regarding property lines.

“We do hear from time to time that someone may purchase a piece of land that isn't as large or the shape that they thought it was, or that perhaps development on their land may encroach onto another property,” she said.

“So there is a range of property-related circumstances you can run into."

In this case, the city set aside sections of land along MR #80 in the 1950s, with the intention to build roads off the highway.

When the decision was made not to proceed with a road, the land was returned to the original owner, not the current one.

“So what happened is that we have these triangles of lands that remain in the original ownership of the subdivider,” Baskomb said.

Several homes along the road have the same issue, he said.

Because the city doesn't own the land, officials says it can't help Fontaine.

Fontaine said she's found the original owners and is working to buy the land.

In the meantime, she continues with her protests against the situation from her front yard.

Mariette Fontaine, 71, has been trying for the last two years to sell her house so she can move into a senior's home. But it turns out she doesn't own a large portion of her land, including the entrance to her driveway. She says she's encountered nothing but red tape and roadblocks trying to get the issue resolved — so much so that she got fed up and started to protesting on her front yard. (Marina Von Stackelberg/CBC)


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