Homeowners waiting 6-8 months for city flood inspection
City plans to hire three more inspectors to help with long waits, doubling the number of staff
After Helen Murray's basement rapidly filled with murky, unsanitary water in August — along with the 6,000 other homeowners in Windsor-Essex — she's worried it may happen again before a city inspector approves her request for the prevention program.
With three full-time inspectors working solely on dealing with the backlog in requests, there's a six to eight month wait from the time a resident applies.
More than 2,000 people applied
Since the record-breaking rainfall, Windsor has been flooded with requests from more than 2,000 homeowners looking to take advantage of the flood prevention program, which covers 100 per cent of the cost of things like sump pumps and back water valves.
It should be taken care of in a timely manner.- Helen Murray, flooded homeowner
Murray sent her application by mail on September 4, just days after the flood, and still hasn't received a call, appointment or even a confirmation number from the city.
"Not an acknowledgement, nothing," said Murray. "It should be taken care of in a timely manner. I'd like to get things moving and get my home back to normal living."
Some can't afford fast-track option
Most people opted for the city's new fast-track option, which allows them to get the work done right away by a licensed plumber. Residents can get a permit within days and begin the work.The city inspects it afterwards and determines if the homeowner is eligible to receive the subsidy of up to $2,800 per home.
However, that's not an option for Murray. She can't afford to pay thousands of dollars and risk not being approved for the subsidy program.
"I just don't have the finances to pay $4,000 or $5,000 or however much it's going to cost up front and hopefully wait to get it back," she said.
Roughly 60 cm of water filled her basement, destroying new flooring, furniture and a washer and dryer.
Many frustrated with long waits
And Murray isn't alone in feeling frustrated about the lengthy wait. Dozens of people commented on CBC Windsor's Facebook page with similar stories.
City to hire more inspectors
It's a pretty daunting task.- Mark Winterton, city engineer
The city is asking everyone in line to be patient because the situation will likely improve next year. Three more full-time inspectors should be hired in the New Year to help drain the wait times, doubling the current number of staff, according to City Engineer Mark Winterton,
"It's a pretty daunting task," said Winterton. "Each individual inspector can probably do only six or seven [inspections] a day, at best. We hope to move that needle forward on that six-month wait period."
Once residents are finished waiting more than six months for a city inspector to come by, the wait isn't over. Some plumbers tell CBC News it can take upwards of four weeks to get a quote and a few months before the actual work will begin.