No Solution For Owners Of Condemned Homes

Over five years after the land their homes stand on started slipping into the Thames River, three Mount Brydges families remain in limbo as they look to the local government for a solution.

The homes, all on Adelaide Rd., have been condemned. Susan and David Shuttleworth say talks with all levels of government have not resulted in a solution, so the families have launched a civil suit against Strathroy-Caradoc.

The Shuttleworths had 40 ft of back yard when they moved in during January of 2001. But then in 2009, the first part of the slope fell into the water below and the land continued to erode until they moved out for safety reasons in 2012. Two months later, their house was condemned.

“This was our retirement and we don’t have a house we could sell if we wanted to. We really are left with nothing,” says Susan Shuttleworth. “We’re heartbroken, frustrated. You sort of feel like you’ve been destroyed. We think over and over again what could we have done? What did we do? And we can’t see that we did anything that was wrong.”

Several pricey solutions were offered up by the municipality when it was first discovered that groundwater was causing the rapid erosion along the Thames. However, Shuttleworth says there was no proof they would solve any problems.

It is believed new construction on the other side of Adelaide Rd. rapidly changed the groundwater flow and the amount of municipal water running down the bank.

Now, the couple has to decide whether to move the upper level of their home to a different location or to pay for it to be demolished, neither option they can afford.

“They have no money to help us,” says Shuttleworth, who says all they want is the value of their home and costs incurred out of the lawsuit.

The government has also told them they will have to pay for the cleanup if their home falls into the river below.