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Watercourses sometimes cause a lot of headaches for local property owners. At the Orsonis, a canalized stream passes under their land. After the floor collapsed, the couple had to fight to assert their rights.

Their ground collapses, they win against the city

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A first collapse occurred in 2020, then a second, a year later.

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Voice synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate a spoken text from a written text.

“This summer, It really… everything fell apart, even more than what it was. »

It is December 2023. Jean-Pascal Orsoni and his partner, Pascale, invite us into their backyard, a large sloping plot of land surrounded by mature trees. The in-ground pool has seen better days, as has the landscaping. The pergola, a large wooden structure, is abandoned for safety reasons.

It is here, under the pergola, the damage is most visible. The ground, where stone slabs rest, has subsided. Only a few rows of unstable paving stones remain.

The bill had gone there a year and a half earlier. Already, the damage was considerable. Engineers blamed a blocked, outdated and poorly backfilled pipeline, built six meters underground in the 1980s, for the ground collapses.

We were walking our dog and the ground sank under his weight! He ran, leaning on the slabs, which fell with him.

A quote from Pascale Orsoni

At the time of the incident, the City secured the scene and issued a call for tenders to repair the pipe. The lowest bidder offered to carry out the work for $477,000, a bill that was too expensive, according to Sainte-Thérèse, who canceled everything. The Orsonis were in shock. They decided to sue the City, convinced that they were within their rights.

Six meters underground, there has water that continues to coat the ground. It’s a surprise, a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, lamented Pascale Orsoni.

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The Orsonis note the poor state of their land, more than three years after the first subsidence.

So, who should pay for the work? The City, which is responsible for the waterways or the Orsoni, who inherit the problem?

We asked for the opinion of the municipal law lawyer, Audrey-Anne Béland. She explained to us that the owners could not be held responsible, since they did not cause the blockage of the pipe.

She also underlined that the City uses this pipeline, because it is integrated into its network ;#x27;storm sewer. She must therefore do the work and pay for it, since it is her obligation to intervene quickly.

Sainte-Thérèse did not share this point of view. According to the City, the Orsonis would be the only ones responsible for repairing the pipe, particularly because it would be a private pipe. But this argument did not convince the Superior Court judge, who wrote: In the opinion of the Court, none of these defenses is well-founded.

In her judgment, she agrees with the Orsonis across the board.

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A large part of the backyard is condemned, due to the instability of the soil.

We won! The judge forces the City to do the work. That was the main point we were looking for, obviously. We are very happy, exclaims Jean-Pascal Orsoni.

His partner, Pascale, shares his relief, mixed with bitterness. We are extremely satisfied, but I have a feeling of a huge waste, a waste of time, of money, she laments.

The fight was long and costly; thousands of dollars in expert fees, not to mention other types of damage, such as stress experienced for years and the inability to enjoy the yard. For these reasons, the Superior Court awarded the Orsonis an amount of $75,000.

It was very difficult, psychologically, because life goes on, work, children, everything goes on. It's sad that we have to fight. I don't find that normal.

A quote from Jean-Pascal Orsoni

We met the mayor of Sainte-Thérèse, Christian Charron, to get his reaction to the judgment. We understand that it was difficult for them. For the City too, it was a long process. […] The court has ruled. We could have appealed, but we decided to respect the decision, then resolve the situation once and for all, confides the mayor.

The court ordered the City to repair the pipe and backfill everything, as if no collapse had ever occurred. But Sainte-Thérèse has another plan in mind: restoring the stream to its original state. In other words, she plans to remove the fill, remove the pipe and let the stream flow freely, which will considerably reduce the area of ​​the land.

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The City of Sainte-Thérèse plans to restore the stream to its natural state, as with the Orsoni neighbors.

The decision to channel, to backfill, then installing a swimming pool, it wasn't the best idea. We are redoing what should have been done at the time, leaving the stream in its natural state.

A quote from Christian Charron, mayor of the town of Sainte- Thérèse

To carry out its plan, the City offers the Orsonis to acquire their property. They knew we were in a hurry to sell the property. They made us a first offer. We made our counter-offer, testifies Jean-Pascal Orsoni.

Finally, the parties agree to close the sale at $820,000. We got what we wanted. This allows us to leave the house as quickly as possible.

For its part, the City intends to do the work this year and resell the property. As Mayor Christian Charron explains, we must take into consideration that by selling the house, we will recover part of the investment. It's more advantageous.

For one of the last times, Pascal takes a look at his in-ground swimming pool. What a waste, this swimming pool. I don't know if they're going to keep it or tear it down. Without hesitation, Pascale responds: Quite frankly, I don't care at all.

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The in-ground swimming pool, which has not been used for a long time, was one of the attractions of the property before the collapses.

This land, which they loved so much, has turned into a financial and emotional pit. Today, the couple can finally turn the page, as Pascale summarizes. Justice is there to protect us. We must not give up. Now, we can finally move on to another stage of our lives.

Jean-Luc Bouchard's report will be broadcast on the show La facture Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. HERE TV.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116