NEWS

Leslie destroys Newfoundland home under repair for 9-cm error

09/12/2012 11:07 EDT | Updated 11/12/2012 05:12 EST
A dream-home project in eastern Newfoundland took another nightmarish twist Tuesday when tropical storm Leslie destroyed the house while it was structurally compromised for repairs.

One of the home's owners, Steven Boyd, told CBC News it is “very possible” the home will be a writeoff.

“Everything was twisted and warped, and I’m not sure this can be actually salvaged,” Boyd said.

Boyd and his partner, Karen Bursey, have been in conflict with the Conception Bay South council for months.

Town officials said they built the foundation of their new home too close to their neighbour’s property line.

The difference between where they actually built and what they had been approved for — about nine centimetres, or the length of a poker-sized playing card — resulted in a stop-work order.

Boyd said the estimated cost of making the required changes was $25,000.

The couple's plight attracted national headlines when CBC News reported on it in July.

In order to fix the problem, Boyd said, one of the walls had to be removed to cut the foundation as required by the council.

He said that “compromised the integrity of the building.”

Then Leslie blew in. The post-tropical storm, with hurricane-force winds, slammed into Newfoundland on Tuesday.

Boyd watched as piece after piece of his dream home fell down and blew into the ditch. “It totally collapsed,” he said.

The top structure of the house is “completely down.” The floor is intact and the foundation seems fine.

Mayor jokes home on 'sacred burial ground'

Boyd said contractors will have to see what can be salvaged.

“If not, it will just have to be scrapped and started again,” he noted.

In an interview this summer, Conception Bay South Mayor Woodrow French was unapologetic about the town’s stand, saying the rules are the rules.

"We have rules and regulations in place, and everybody has to follow those rules and regulations," French said.

Asked Wednesday if he thinks the project is cursed, Boyd laughed.

“We’ve joked about that, actually, thinking maybe we’re on some sacred burial ground or something,” he said.

He doesn’t yet know what, if anything, will be covered by insurance.

But he indicated they will be seeking damages from the surveyors and town council.

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