Toronto apartment residents say balcony construction makes it harder to self-isolate
Residents of 666 Spadina Avenue are having an especially difficult time being able to self-isolate as construction on the building continues.
The 334 unit building has been under construction for over a year now, as they remove the concrete balconies from every unit.
Melissa Novacefski, a Masters student who's been staying with her boyfriend in the building, wishes management would get the construction workers to stop, at least temporarily.
"Eight hours with constant drilling is unbearable," she says. "It's impossible to get any work done."
The construction company is maintaining their usual working hours – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays – which under normal circumstance would be fine as it's when most people are at work.
But with the recent measures to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus everyone is now working from home and the result is a lot of unhappy residents, especially since there's no coffee shops or libraries to escape to.
"There's literally no where else to go," says Novacefski.
Other residents agree, saying they can't stand the noise.
But Gabrielle Thibault-Messier, a queer, disabled and chronically ill educator and activist, has been dealing with this issue for years now.
"As soon as something starts impacting able bodied people, all of sudden we now care," they say.
Thibault-Messier is house bound a lot of the time due to their disabilities and the constant construction has impacted everything from their health to their ability to work.
"I haven't been able to record my podcast and the constant noise means I've had to displace myself even when I should be at home resting. I've had to go somewhere else to sleep," they say, explaining that the noise has reached 100 decibels at times – a level which is well above the City of Toronto noise by-law limits.
That level of noise has also been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression.
"Being stuck in a construction building is absolutely detrimental to your health. No one should be subjected to it," says Thibault-Messier.
Now with the recent COVID outbreak it's even worse for them.
"I'm immuno- compromised, so I can't go out for walks like everyone else. I have no access to the outside."
On top of that Thibault-Messier tells blogTO that the construction workers are also doing construction inside the building, which is worrisome for immuno-compromised residents like Thibault-Messier.
"This building is at huge risk of being a COVID hot spot. We don't need more silent carriers," they say.
Novacefski told blogTO that the building managers met Wednesday to discuss the complaints but in the end they decided not to stop the work.
"There's no sympathy from building managers," she said.
But Reynah Pereira, the building's property manager from Cromwell Management, disagrees. She understands how disruptive the noise can be but says the construction is necessary.
"This is essential work that needs to be done to protect the integrity of the building. If we stop, it will be that much longer that they don't have balconies," Pereira explains.
"We are strictly following the guidelines of the medical office of health and everything we are required to do by law."
Pereira adds that they've sent upwards of 50 notices to the tenants to inform them of the work and have increased the speed of the work as much as possible.
There isn't a clear end date on the construction at this time.
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