Tony Lombardi loves almost everything about his home on Curé-De Rossi Street, in LaSalle, with one rather large exception: the massive mountain of dirt of a condominium construction site a few feet from his backyard fence. For him, the pile is both an eyesore and a hazard.
Lombardi and other neighbours say when the weather warms up, streams of melting snow and mud make their way onto their properties. They now worry for the springtime, when the runoff problems will likely intensify.
« We’re pissed. We want the developer to move this pile away and remove that risk, » Lombardi says.
Habitations Apéro promised to eliminate the pile in two separate letters sent in July and August to residents of Cure-De Rossi Street.
« They’ve done nothing. In fact, the mountain has actually grown in size, » says another area resident, Kaiyu Wang.
In the letters, residents were asked to address any issues with project manager Gaetano Ioanna. The phone number printed appears to be no longer in service.
In November, inspectors with the borough of LaSalle sent an email to the developer requesting they lower the height of the pile. Borough spokesperson Pierre Dupuis says they received a reply, but the work was never done.
« We do not have any collaboration from the company. That pile of dirt was not a nice thing to do to the residents of Curé-De Rossi Street, » says Dupuis.
The municipality can’t impose fines on the developer. There is no bylaw which forbids the construction company from piling the tonnes of dirt.
On December 22, a team of engineers hired by the borough assessed the stability of the pile and determined there was no danger for the residents. In their report, they suggest the developer build a trench between the outer edge of the pile and the backyard fences, or possibly even create a concrete wall barrier.
« The only thing we can do is support our residents, we can act as a watchdog. Of course, we are very disappointed with this situation, » Dupuis says.
On December 27, borough officials went door-to-door on Curé-De Rossi Street advising homeowners they will be bringing in sandbags as a precaution. They are expected to be distributed in the coming days.
« The sandbags will be coming in from Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Ahuntsic. Those boroughs have dealt with springtime floods recently and they are lending us a hand, » Dupuis says.
Lombardi and his neighbours hope it doesn’t reach that point, but they say they will do what they have to to protect their homes and families.