New court claims seeking millions filed against Moroun by west-end homeowners

The Windsor Star
Dave Battagello

A third claim is on behalf of a variety of other homeowners who reside in the Indian Road, Mill Street and Rosedale Boulevard area who have launched a complaint similar to the August filing. Lucy Warnock and her husband John had initially resisted joining the suit until they realized the Rosedale neighbourhood they’ve called home for nearly 43 years wasn’t being served by their silence.

“Cars were pulling up while I’d be trying to clean up the neighbourhood and ask why I was cleaning up a ghetto,” said the 77-year-old Warnock. “It doesn’t make you feel very good to hear that.

“He (Moroun) hasn’t just ruined our neighbourhood, he’s taken a piece of my life.”

Warnock said money is low on her list of reasons for joining the suit. What she would prefer is her neighbourhood restored and the chance to ask Moroun one question.

“I’d like to ask how do you sleep at night, you and Mrs. Moroun, with what you’ve done to people?” Warnock said.

Warnock said joining the suit is the first time she’s felt positive about her situation, a decision she said was reinforced Thursday morning.

“I knew we’d made the right decision when I had to sweep three raccoons off my front porch again,” Warnock said.

“All the wild animals running around, neighbours can’t let their grandchildren play in the yard because you don’t know what will pop out.”

Warnock said the abandoned properties are dilapidated, overgrown with grass and trees, garbage is strewn about and transients are common.

“It was a beautiful, professional neighbourhood,” said Warnock, who said the bridge company never approached the couple to sell their home.

“At our age, we don’t want to move because we want a home, not just a house. This is our home.”

The three new claims represent 19 properties, said Sharon Strosberg.

“These new complaints are almost identical to (the lawsuit issued in August),” she said. “They’ve all waited patiently for years for the problems to be resolved by (the bridge company). Now they are waiting for their day in court.”

Strosberg said she’s hoping to get a trial date for June 2014.

Since the late 1990s, bridge officials have made no secret of their intention to demolish homes on tree-lined Indian Road, Rosedale Avenue and Edison Street to expand bridge operations and build a twin span.

But that plan has been repeatedly rejected by government decision-makers on both sides of the border, who are pushing forward with construction two kilometres downriver of the $1-billion Detroit River International Crossing.

In the bridge company’s statement of defence for the August suit, the company argues the city of Windsor is to blame for the slum neighbourhoods by refusing to let it tear down the abandoned homes.

The company also argues that city bylaws don’t apply to it based on powers granted to it by Parliament in legislation passed in the 1920s.

“It’s not relevant to us at all that the CTC feels it has permission to build a second span or that city bylaws don’t apply to them,” Strosberg said.

“The issue in the suit is about the homes which the CTC owns, the blight of neighbourhoods and the nuisance created and who is responsible for it.”