Flooded house demolished in Constance Bay to make way for new home

After months of flooding, mould and structural damage, Kara Lee Shaw Plourde's Constance Bay home is being demolished to make way for a new house.

Despite donations and free labour, Constance Bay resident still short $60K from building new home

Constance Bay home demolished

5 years ago
Duration 0:23
A home destroyed by the flooding in the spring of 2017 was demolished in Constance Bay on Tuesday.

Karalee Shaw Plourde's house in Constance Bay is coming down seven months after the spring floods that wore away at its foundation and she's not sure whether she'll have enough money to rebuild.

"It's tough, it's really hard, this entire time has been an emotional roller-coaster for me and the girls," said Shaw Plourde, as she watched a backhoe tear at the grey siding of her house. Her eyes welled with tears.

"It's pretty tough because it wasn't a house, it was a home."

Karalee Shaw Plourde's home in Constance Bay has been demolished. (Laurie Fagan CBC )

The 40-year-old single mother has tapped into volunteer labour, provincial funding and a local relief fund — but she's still facing a financial gap.

There are three other homes in the community that are also being demolished, according to Constance Bay Flood Relief. The organization said the owners of one of those homes is also tapping into the local relief fund.

Shifting foundation, toxic mould

Shaw Plourde and her daughters, aged eight and 10, moved into the home on Baillie Drive exactly a year before the Ottawa River flooded in May.

Even though her house wasn't in the floodplain, it had been built low to the ground and was vulnerable when the water levels rose.

Karalee Shaw Plourde outside her Constance Bay home. (Laurie Fagan/CBC)

Shaw Plourde said the flooding wasn't a sudden gush of water, but started slowly in the first week of May and kept flowing months after the river receded.

The pressure from the gushing water eventually buckled her foundation.

It was pretty hard ... getting vertigo trying to go to the bathroom because the house was so crooked.- Karalee Shaw Plourde, homeowner

"It was pretty hard getting up during the night and getting vertigo trying to go to the bathroom because the house was so crooked," she said.

"The back of the house shifted in one way and the centre shifted another way, but then finding out it wasn't fixable — that was hard." 

Shaw Plourde moved out of the house in mid-September and rented another home on the same street.

Mould had started to grow on the walls of Karalee Shaw Plourde's home. (Laurie Fagan/CBC )

Struggling to pay for rebuild

The first estimate for rebuilding a 1,200-square-foot home was $370,000. She said she couldn't afford it so she whittled down the budget.

The Mennonite Disaster Service donated labour and Shaw Plourde is likely to receive close to the maximum $250,000 amount from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.

Constance Bay Flood Relief said it will also donate $15,000 toward her construction costs. 

Even after all of that, she's still almost $60,000 short of the complete cost of her rebuild.

'We have to help Kara find $60,000 ... if we don't find it then we stop"Len Russell, Constance Bay Flood Relief 

Len Russell, director of Constance Bay Flood Relief, said he's worried about the uncertainty of how those affected by the floods are going to find the remaining money they need. 

"We have to help Kara find $60,000," said Russell. "If we don't find it, then we stop. It's difficult."

Good, bad and dark moments

More fundraising events are planned for the community, but meeting the goal will be a challenge, Russell said.

Despite the possibility of running out of money and having to leave the house unfinished, Shaw Plourde remains optimistic.

"You have your good moments, your bad moments and some dark ones," she said. 

"My kids are my rock and because of them I am able to get through. And they are pretty strong and we'll get through it together."