Saturday, April 08, 2006

MP Wants Condo Compensation

For beleaguered leaky condo owners, these words are sweet music to their ears: judicial inquiry, financial restitution, accountability through complete public disclosure.
That’s precisely what Delta-Richmond East Conservative MP John Cummins has called for in a letter last week to fellow MP Diane Finley, the minister responsible for Canada’s national housing agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The CMHC is the target of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of all B.C. leaky condo owners and seeks compensation for the cost of repairs.
According to the Feb. 20 letter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed during the national election campaign to review—at Cummins’ request—the CMHC’s handling of construction regulations and leaky condos.
“In my view, not only is it important for this government to review the history which has lead to this crisis but also, it is important to hold the previous government and its agencies to account for their failure to prevent and respond appropriately.”
Outspoken leaky condo owner James Balderson applauded Cummins for remaining true to his election word and continuing his pursuit for justice for leaky condo owners.
“That is absolutely excellent on John Cummins’ part. We would not expect him to change his tune like (Vancouver-Kingsway MP David) Emerson did,” he said, referring to Emerson crossing the floor to join the Conservatives after running as a Liberal candidate. Balderson said the notion that the leaky condo crisis is behind us is false.
“Of course, I’m in favour of a review at the federal level of the leaky condo disaster. Victims have not been compensated. Governments have shirked their responsibility to the citizens,” Balderson said.
“People are still suffering,” he added. “At the present moment, I’m looking out my dining room window at two towers on the north shore of False Creek that are completely covered up with tarps. And there’s more and more of this yet to be done in terms of the repair work.”
Cummins has been at the forefront of an effort to ascertain the federal government’s role in the leaky condo crisis, filing dozens of freedom-of-information requests for government documents over the past few years.
Those requests unearthed restricted and confidential documents which reveal that top politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa were aware in the early 1980s of troubling housing-related problems on the east and west coast of Canada. The lawsuit claims those were the dawning days of B.C.’s leaky condo crisis, but appropriate efforts to rectify the problem were not taken.
In his five-part recommendation, Cummins urged Ottawa to:
• Establish a judicial inquiry or review to get to the bottom of what led to the housing failure and to make recommendations as to the extent of federal government liability and potential restitution for homeowners
• Provide complete disclosure of all documents on the government’s knowledge of what went wrong
• Publicly acknowledge, based on the findings of the review, whether or not federal government agencies were aware of what was causing the housing failure
• Provide equitable restitution based on the findings of the public review
• Ensure that the CMHC, the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada focus research on low-cost solutions that ensure government-mandated building design and building codes are no longer the source of moisture-induced damage in home construction
“While many have suffered loss, I hope that the new Conservative government’s first efforts will be to deal with problems and repair costs suffered by homeowners. Homeowners should be the first priority,” Cummins said.


Post a Comment

<< Home