Toronto woman says home on edge of construction site threatens family’s safety

Colleen Dempsey’s home shared a roof with her neighbours until November, when the houses next to hers were torn down to make way for a condo and townhouse development — puttting her on the very edge of a construction site. Literally.

Dempsey says she is planning to sue to Curated Properties, the developers of “Edition Richmond” on Richmond Street, east of Strachan Avenue. She’s livid about the development and its effects on her home.

“Thank you neighbours for your support. Holy _ _ _ _ Alright Greed,” a sign on her house reads. An Irish flag flies on the roof and a curse against the “mother feckers” is written on the wall facing the construction site.

Dempsey says the demolition has caused a litany of problems to her home, which may end up being disputed in court.

“They tore off the wall right down to the wood. Our pipes froze, I had to keep heaters on. My last Hydro bill was $ 687 and the one before that was $ 505,” she said.

She also claims the roof is now unstable and threatens her family’s safety.

“All I did was come home from work and (they) ripped my house apart. I never told anyone to touch my wall,” she said.

Ward Councillor Mike Layton, who has met with Dempsey on numerous occasions, said it’s the closest home he’s ever seen to a development. Her house ends at the property line, where the construction site begins.

“While they might not have been attached at the wall, they were so close they were essentially semi-detached houses,” he said.

When neighbours are close there tends to be some problems, regardless of the development, he said.

While old, semi-detached and new development projects are common in Toronto, the two don’t often mix, said Layton. “There are not a lot of opportunities for this kind of build in the city, or in this neighbourhood in particular, because what they’re looking for is former industrial sites within a stable neighbourhood, which there aren’t a lot of.”

Layton and city officials have sent out inspectors in response to Dempsey’s complaints to make sure the demolition complies with city bylaws. Any other problems belong in a civil court, he said.

“It’s a shame that it gets to this point. These are people’s biggest investments in their lives, both the neighbour having their house damaged and the people that will eventually move into the townhomes,” said Layton, adding there needs to be respect on both sides.

“It’s difficult and it’s the product of people living in very close quarters to one another and wanting to build more.”

No one at the construction site would comment on this story and no one from the office of Edition Richmond or Curated Properties responded to Metro’s requests for an interview.

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