Sidhu sluggish in repairing blast damaged homes

Work on Hamilton Boulevard is significantly behind schedule and the highway may be unable to open until next spring.

Work on Hamilton Boulevard is significantly behind schedule and the highway may be unable to open until next spring.

But the roadwork isn’t the only thing that contractor Sidhu Trucking Ltd. isn’t completing on schedule.

A couple of Lobird residents are complaining about the amount of time that it has taken to repair their damaged homes.

These damages were caused when a botched blast sent large chunks of granite rock and debris raining down on the community.

Candace Carpenter was sitting in her living room when an 11-kilogram rock the size of a soccer ball came crashing through the roof of her trailer.

The rock nearly hit her husband and slammed into the family’s fireplace.

It happened so quickly that Carpenter was unaware she had been hit by debris from the impact until the next day when she felt the bruising on her arm.

That was three months ago.

The repairs to the home were completed just last week after months of fighting with Sidhu and its insurance company.

“The hole they had fixed in the first few days,” Carpenter said on Monday.

“But they just finally got to my fireplace hearth a couple weeks ago.”

Carpenter had to hire her own contractor to complete work on the hearth when Sidhu’s didn’t show.

“It’s supposed to be Sidhu Trucking and his insurance company but the insurance adjuster never returned my phone calls or my e-mails,” she said.

Carpenter finally handed the bills in to the territorial government.

“My heart does go out to the Carpenters,” said project manager Jeff Boehmer.

“It was an unfortunate event and they had to wait a long time and I know she’s been really stressed about trying to sell her trailer.”

Shortly after the incident, Candace’s husband Russ Carpenter was offered a job in Nanaimo, BC.

The family was forced to sell their trailer at a significant loss.

“It was sold for quite a bit under what I was asking for it,” said Candace.

“I think it definitely had to do with the blasting — it’s a pretty infamous trailer.”

Boehmer had the same problems with Sidhu’s insurance company but was able to help Candace get the work done.

“The initial hole was dealt with in the first week but it was the other sort of tidy-up stuff that did drag on,” he said.

“One lady needs a patch to her room and that’s going to be done this week and there’s one trailer that needs the siding fixed.

“For the most part all the other things have been done.”

Boehmer doesn’t know whether Lobird residents will be seeking additional restitution from Sidhu.

“Nobody else has ever called me,” he said.

“I thought, well maybe it’s all been dealt with because normally when people are pissed off or upset they usually call me right away and they’re pretty clear about what they want.

“But I haven’t heard anything.”

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the highway extension with the project behind schedule, said Boehmer.

“We were having some discussions about whether we would open it with just the gravel and then pave it in May,” he said.

“But I don’t know. There’s so much work that we still have to do up there. We’re going to have to make a judgment call sort of mid-October as to what we think we can safely do.

“It won’t be open if it’s not safe for people to drive down.”

The contractor has completed all the major blasting necessary for the roadwork, he added.

However, there is still some smaller blast work to be done, which should be completed by the end of the month.

Despite the incident and the continuing blast work, Candace still feels safe in her home, she said.

“I mean, lightning can’t strike twice right?”

“I’m just really upset over the way we’ve been treated,” she said.

“It’s just been a fight to get it done in a timely fashion and I don’t think we were treated with any compassion or respect.”

Sidhu Trucking could not be reached for comment.

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