Catherine Moen and David Dodds say so feels like an earthquake every time a bus or truck passes their home in Christchurch.
Heavy vehicles crossing a stretch of road create vibrations that vibrate through the house. Cracks have appeared in the walls, foundations and lawn. The couple fears that the entire building has collapsed.
“It feels like a thump when you’re sitting in the lounge or upstairs in bed. And it’s getting worse. Even with the earthquakes, we didn’t understand this,” said Moen. It was especially bad in their teenage son Alex’s bedroom, she said.
The family has lived in the Linwood house for 20 years, but the problem only started after that the continuous rainfall of this winter.
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Earlier this year, a water connection was built under the road to serve a townhouse complex adjacent to Moen and Dodds’ home. Before that, the municipality had dug the road to do infrastructure works.
The pair don’t know the source of the shaking, but say it appears to be coming from the council’s road surface.
They contacted the council in September, who responded many weeks later, blaming the developer.
City officials said the tremors were caused by a failed trench dug by the developer’s contractor and advised them to track down the developer to fix the problem.
Moen said they didn’t know what to do next.
‘Why can’t the municipality launch an investigation? It comes from the municipal infrastructure, it is not on the private property (mansion).
Even if the problem was caused by the developer, the council should help them, she said.
“We will have to find someone to take responsibility for it, but we don’t want to be involved in legal action. Should we have an engineer take a look? That’s thousands of dollars.
“They both have to come up with something.”
Dodds said the situation was unfair if it had not been caused by them.
“This is damaging our home, our greatest asset. I just can’t see when it’s going to end.”
After no action from the council, Moen and Dodds contacted City Councilor Jake McLellan, who told Stuff it was “not really good enough” that the municipality had not done more.
McLellan said the case was initially misfiled by council staff and that the homeowners were “screwed up” by the council.
“Even if it’s the developer…the least we can do is contact the developers and tell them there’s a problem here.
“It’s pretty pissed off on our front.”
After visiting the property, McLellan agreed with the pair that the problem seemed to be coming from the council’s repaired stretch of road. Interestingly, the shaking had started after heavy rain, he said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some kind of void underneath.”
On Wednesday, Moen said road cones and a compaction machine had appeared on the street, but the contractors seemed to be in the wrong place.
“I think they made a decision without any geotechnical investigation.”
Questions to the council Stuff went unanswered last week. They included why the council thought the problem was caused by a private development, whether the council was willing to investigate, whether the council believed it was liable, and whether it thought it fair to tell residents to settle the matter yourself.