Collapsed balcony throws family out on the street


TROIS-RIVIÈRES | The Pépin-Gaboury family from Trois-Rivières found themselves on the street and must find a home as soon as possible after the collapse of their rear balcony on June 26.

“The whole family, we were on the edge of the fire and the children in the sandbox. Then we heard a crack and quickly the balcony of the second collapsed in the courtyard! Fortunately, no one was injured, but we were afraid, ”said Kevin Pépin at TVA Nouvelles.

Screenshot, TVA Nouvelles

When the firefighters arrived, they set up a security perimeter around the building on rue St-Maurice, in the Cap-de-la-Madeleine sector. Then, as the emergency exits were no longer accessible, they prohibited the families of the two affected apartments in the six-unit building from returning to the premises, as long as the owner did not make the necessary arrangements. repairs.

“We were taken care of by the Red Cross. They offered us accommodation for 72 hours. Then we go camping. The owner, Benoît Ferron, only put unstable wooden planks in front of the second door. It looks like a pool springboard so the boards are moving. A fire service inspector came to analyze the site and it was not accepted, ”said Mr. Pépin.

Before the courts?

The City said it is greatly concerned about the safety of residents. Communication officer Guillaume Cholette-Janson indicated that the work is done in close collaboration with the Trois-Rivières fire safety service and that the file is being closely followed.

Screenshot, TVA Nouvelles

As of August, the city administration could have additional power. “We are working on the development of a draft by-law that will allow us, with a court order, for example, to carry out work and invoice the owners. We will be able to apply it in the case of buildings in a state of unsanitary conditions, ”said the mayor of Trois-Rivières, Jean Lamarche.

A recurring problem

According to the Trois-Rivières Housing Committee, unsanitary conditions and the lack of maintenance of housing are recurring problems. Only in the last few months, out of some 1,200 files opened, 70% were related to the condition of the dwellings.

“We are dealing with owners who want to pay the minimum. Then, often, it is impossible for tenants to speak directly with their landlord. The best thing to do is to get in touch with us; we are going to start legal proceedings at the Régie du logement, ”said the coordinator at Comité Logement Trois-Rivières, Carol-Anne Côté.

TVA Nouvelles tried to speak to the owner of the building, Benoît Ferron, without success. The telephone number listed on the leases is out of service. Then, when the team arrived on the scene, the elderly man in his thirties barricaded himself in an apartment.

After police intervention, the Pépin-Gaboury family was finally able to have their lease terminated. She will move on July 1.

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