Montreal

'The house is basically rotting': Flooded homeowner still waiting for inspection

A property owner in Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac says she can't repair her home and get it ready for the winter as the government hasn't inspected it yet to approve the work that needs to be done.

Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac resident says she can't repair her home or get it ready for winter without government OK

Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac resident Elizabeth Tomaras can't begin to repair her home that was flooded in the spring until the government inspects it, and that still hasn't happened. (CBC)

Winter may be months away, but Elizabeth Tomaras is worried her Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac home won't be ready to withstand the approaching cold after she lost her furnace, hot water tank and much of the building's insulation in the spring's floods. 

Water from nearby Lake of Two Mountains inundated her basement, lapping at her living room on the main floor. 

She and her husband had to live with their parents for two months after the floodwaters subsided, while they ripped out their living room floor and parts of the wall. 

But the couple says the government still hasn't sent an inspector — and until it does, they can't go ahead with the work that needs to be done to make their home habitable over the winter and to withstand future flooding.

In response to complaints of delays in July, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said inspectors had visited 92 per cent of the homes that flooded to approve the work for which homeowners had received estimates from contractors.

Coiteux said the ministry had hired 90 more people to speed up inspections and that it was issuing 500 reports a week. At the time, he said he guessed that homeowners whose homes had been inspected would receive their reports by mid-August.

Tomaras's house hasn't even made it through the first step in the process yet. 

Tomaras says her basement was submerged by floodwater, breaching the two-metre-high ceiling and leaving her living room ankle-deep in water. (CBC)

Home 'basically rotting'

"Why is it taking so long for us?" she asks.

"The house is basically rotting," Tomaras said when CBC News paid a visit to her home Monday. "Is it going to get to a point where we can't renovate it anymore?"

A musty smell fills the rooms that were submerged. The couple moved all the furniture in the living room and "now we're just standing on two-by-fours with nails sticking out."

Tomaras believes there may have been damage her home's foundation and contamination because "the water certainly wasn't clean water that flooded our house."

Elizabeth Tomaras and her husband had to rip out their living room floors which had been flooded for at least seven days. (CBC)

In June, the couple submitted claims for the food they lost — a full fridge, freezer and pantry — as well as for the number of hours they'd put in themselves, laying sandbags to try to prevent more flooding and ripping out floors and a wall. 

Tomaras says that after those claims were reimbursed, "we felt the government was really taking care of us."

"But now it definitely feels like we were put on the backburner."

Although two independent contractors have come to evaluate the home and provide estimates for the work it needs, as requested by the provincial government, Tomaras said she still hasn't had a response to her inspection request.

Olivier Cantin, a spokesperson for Coiteux, said inspections are going as planned and noted there's still time before the five-week deadline the ministry imposed on itself in July to complete the files.

with files from CBC's Navneet Pall and Kateryna Gordiychuk

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