At 65-years-old Gary Slota had to go back to work to pay for upgrades to the sewer and water system on his Transcona street.
“My retirement fund is depleting,” he said. “It’s very stressful, I don’t sleep properly, I have to take aids to sleep, I feel like I’m screaming but no one is listening.”
Slota is one of about 20 homeowners on Ravelston Avenue West that are on the hook for thousands of dollars.
“It’s hitting us hard. And I can’t afford this,” he said. “I took $42,000 out to pay for this.”
Last September property owners got a notice from the city that they would be expected to pay $122 per frontage foot for wastewater sewer construction on their roads, as well as thousands more for installing and connecting a private sewer service pipe from their home to the sewer main.
Slota’s home has about 150 feet of frontage, meaning he’s going to have to spend more than $18,000 for his share of the wastewater sewer construction. That is in addition to the thousands he has already spent on his private line.
Slota’s neighbour Eddie Miller says he’s already shelled out $17,000 to connect to the main sewer line.
“It’s so frustrating because I’m facing a lot of bills,” he said. “You are in a no win situation here.”
The homes on the quiet street are now surrounded by new builds. In that September letter to home owners, the city said “these works are part of a new residential development in the area.”
And that’s frustrating residents.
“It’s in the developer’s favour, not the residents here. We are paying taxes here, right?” Miller asked.
Home owners have been told they must pay to get the work done in the next five or so years, or before they can sell their homes.
The City of Winnipeg confirmed in a written statement to Global News the costs were relating to new development in the area:
“A water main and a wastewater sewer main are being installed on Ravelston Avenue West, between Lagimodiere Boulevard and Peguis Street. This is part of a new residential developments in the area. As the City continues to develop, wastewater sewers and water mains are being installed. Approximately 20 properties will be required to connect to the new wastewater sewer as part of this project.
“Property owners were first notified of the improvements in February 2015. Follow up notices to property owners were sent out in November 2016. Notice of an information session was sent out September 2017 with the information session held in November 2017.”
WATCH: Transcona homeowners upset over cost, city process relating to area development