Resident goes after town when vandals smash window
Town responsible for leaving debris uncovered at worksite, resident says
A private citizen approached the Town of St. Paul council at its July 9 meeting, asking the town to help pay to repair a vandalized window that she felt the town was partly responsible for causing.
Town staff had been repairing the sidewalk alongside Amber Faganello’s house, and had left the worksite with concrete and rebar debris from June 7 through 9. On June 9, person or people picked up rocks from the construction site and threw them at her window, causing more than $500 in damages.
“If the town hadn’t left this mess unattended, it wouldn’t have happened,” Faganello told council, adding that town staff only covered their worksite after the accident already happened. If the Town of St. Paul’s staff is not going to cover worksites, then the town must step up and own its responsibility when an incident such as this occurred, she argued.
Penny Powlay, a neighbour to Faganello, was also in attendance at the meeting and supported her neighbour. She expressed her view that staff should have picked up the rebar and cement left outside until they were ready to finish the job. “It shouldn’t be her fault,” she said of Faganello. “The city shouldn’t have left all the debris.”
Coun. Don Padlesky asked Faganello if she had taken the issue up with her insurance company. Faganello said she had, but noted her deductible is $1,000, and that she must take the lowest bid on repairs to the window, which came in at roughly $580.
After Faganello left, council debated the issue. CAO Ron Boisvert said that he had spoken to the town’s insurance company, which indicated that Faganello can go to her insurance company, and if the staff there deem that the town is at fault, “then they can come after us.
“Our insurance company feels we are not responsible,” said Boisvert, adding that town staff shouldn’t be expected to clean up all its worksites all the time.
Coun. Norm Noel noted there was no construction going on around his property, but there were a couple of larger rocks outside of his house. A person could just as easily have thrown any item through a window, and there was no way to verify it was the town’s debris that was used in the vandalism, he said.
“It’s a real unfortunate situation but . . . I don’t think we should take it upon ourselves,” added Coun. Danny White. Coun. Don Padlesky agreed, and said he felt council should support its public works staff and CAO.
Councillors Pat Gratton and Ken Kwiatkowski expressed interest in paying half the costs, with Gratton saying, “If it was our rocks thrown, then I feel we should help her out.”
“I just feel (it’s a) good gesture by paying half. Everybody walks away happy,” added Kwiatkowski. White disagreed, saying this was a “scary thought,” since it might set a precedent for others to approach the town to pay for vandalism to their properties.
Gratton made a motion to provide $250 to Faganello, which Noel, Padlesky and White voted against passing. Mayor Glenn Andersen decided to vote with Gratton and Kwiatkowski in providing the money, but with the stalemated 3 – 3 vote, the motion was defeated.
Faganello expressed disappointment with the result, saying it took a month for her to have her voice heard, as she was passed from one town staff member to another until she decided to approach council, following which she only had a curt email response back. “Our town council is entirely ineffectual,” she said.
For her, it wasn’t a matter of paying the cost of the window repair, it was the principle of the issue. “It’s a matter of injustice,” she said, adding that with the town leaving “15 feet of trash” outside, if a child had fallen on it, the town would have been responsible. She doesn’t plan to back down but to take up the issue with Alberta’s Municipal Affairs if the town won’t hear her complaints.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.