This is the sound of what the World Cup sounds like when Brazil scores a goal in a Rio de Janeiro neighborhood. I love it.
Leonard LaRochelle took possession of his modular home on Borden Crescent through the city’s affordable housing program in 2011. Now, 2014 has been nothing but headaches and money lost to basement flooding.
“The water actually came all the way underneath the flooring,” LaRochelle said, walking through his basement – floor boards torn up, moldy insulation scattered everywhere and furniture and drywall all huddled in the middle of the room.
Three different leaks sprung in LaRochelle’s basement this spring, causing him to tear down the walls of his newly finished basement and pull up $1,200 worth of flooring.
He said he called the builder to see if they would look at the cracks in the concrete foundation, and they agreed. However, the results weren’t exactly what LaRochelle was expecting.
After a couple of visits from a maintenance worker, LaRochelle said they patched the holes on the inside of the home, but they didn’t do anything to seal the home from the outside.
“As water continues to build up inside, in the fall if we get a freeze that water is going to expand and spider and make so many more issues,” LaRochelle said, adding exposed wood on the outside of the home is starting to rot.
When the builder wouldn’t comply, he went to City Hall. There, LaRochelle said he asked building inspection managers to have his home inspected again.
“The response I got from the inspection manager was that the inspection had initially passed so they wouldn’t find anything different now, so they couldn’t change anything that’s been done and they refused to get another inspection,” LaRochelle said, adding his next step was to take the issue to his city councillor, Ann Iwanchuk.
“It’s concerning to hear residents having these issues, we want home ownership to be a positive experience for all,” Iwanchuk said. “When I was made aware of these concerns about a month ago, I’ve gone to the administration and asked to go back to the builder and they’re currently in the process of getting more information.”
Director of planning and development, Alan Wallace, said they’ve opened up an investigation into the matter and they’ll be reaching out to homeowners and the builder to see if anything can be done to resolve the issue.
“Until we get all the facts we won’t know what’s going on up there,” Wallace said, adding the city’s hands are somewhat tied, because the contract is complete.
Of course you haven’t seen anything until you have seen the leaks in this dramatic video below.
You won’t find videos like this in Calgary or Toronto (mostly because they have tougher building codes). Hopefully that is ROCK 102 playing in the background.
Saskatoon definitely lags behind other cities in technology. Our traffic lights aren’t even synchronized (well unless you use the most and simplistic version of synchronization). Can you imagine a Saskatoon that automatically adapts to water main breaks, road construction, or works to clear traffic jams. It would be amazing.
I am not sure why I watched Rob and Doug Ford’s YouTube TV show but you know what it reminds me of? Low budget corrupt TV evangelists. The bad graphics, poor fitting suits,slicked back hair, and mocking the media and the evil world. Even if the evil world isn’t so much conspiring against them as it is just laughing at them.
From what I have read, the Ford’s don’t have a campaign staff, a strategy or really a plan other than mocking and berating other candidates. Should be a fun campaign to watch.
None of these really need a full blog post but for those that care and for those that don’t…
A New Project
I am starting a book that I hope to have done by the end of the year. I have a full Moleskine of things that I have left out of my The StarPhoenix columns, thoughts that I haven’t shared on The Saskatoon Afternoon Show with David Kirton (or talked about after we got off the air), or are just ideas that I have been working on and haven’t done anything with. Basically I am just trying to figure out Saskatoon and along with it, the ethos of Saskatchewan that makes us do things the way we do.
For many years Steven Johnson has been one of my favourite authors. Instead of writing books about what he knows, he writes about what he does not understand and in the process of learning about a subject, he brings you along for the ride. I hope to do the same thing. Look for it 2015.
Sports and Politics
I read a great bio of Michael Grange who said he wanted to write about foreign affairs but he was offered a sports job. I love writing about local and social issues but if Grantland calls, I am leaving it all behind (I’m kidding but the Grantland podcasts look like so much fun). To pass the time between now and when Bill Simmons discovers me, I am now talking sports with David Kirton and Justin Blackwell on Wednesdays at 5:15 on the CKOM Saskatoon Afternoon roundtable. David joked about it a few weeks ago that we should just talk sports and since then we have had quite a few roundtables with sports. The response has been cool but I was at McNally Robinson the other day and a stranger comes up to me and says out of the blue, “You know, I really hate what Pete Carroll did at USC too.” I looked at him and he said, “I attended Oregon” and shook my hand. I can now check, “Call out Pete Carroll for cheating” off my bucket list.
A Year in Saskatoon
I have been writing an OurYXE Neighbourhood Guide each week. Every Wednesday and Sunday, I sit down and research what is good, bad, and interesting about a neighbourhood. It’s been an incredible amount of fun exploring some of Saskatoon’s most loved (and unloved) neighbourhoods. I have been discovering a lot of history and out of the way places to check out in each of them. Part of the project is making sure we have some good photography for each neighbourhood which means I have been out a lot with a couple of cameras and my new 50mm f/1.8 lens. While the cold hasn’t been a lot of fun to shoot photos in, seeing parts of Saskatoon again for the first time has been excellent.
Along with the photos, I have been shooting a lot of video. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I had been thinking of a montage of a year in the life of Saskatoon. Something that showed the bitter cold of winter and the incredible warmth of fun we have in the summer. Saskatoon isn’t all good and it definitely isn’t all bad.
I wasn’t really sure what I wanted it to look like. Many of the videos I had seen had been time lapses and I have about 5000 time lapse photos taken, I was initially been thinking of doing something with time lapse. It’s fun and amazing but i miss the emotion of just video.
If it is as half as interesting as this video by Andy Clancy, I’ll be very happy.
Saskatoon has some great places to film but I want more than that, I want to see if I can find the kind of street life and community vibrancy in Saskatoon. If you have ideas for where me and my DSLR need to be, let me know. As I chase some city scenes, hopefully I will find some stories for the book, Saskatoon Afternoon’s roundtable, and my columns. Oh yeah, there will be some fun stuff for my blog as well.
Now if only it would warm up outside.
Here is a 1961 video of Chicago called “City of Necessity” that is worth watching.
I know most people don’t watch longer videos online, but despite the 22 minute length, this one is a must for the serious urbanist. Among other things, it fills in part of the historical gap that exists in a lot of people (often including myself) about how our cities actually evolved to where they are today. This film was produced by local religious institutions in order to showcase the benefits of city living, while calling for a more fair and inclusive urban sphere. It’s shot in Chicago but is really about cities generally.