Saturday, March 24, 2018

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire - The Winnipeg Drought

The Winnipeg Drought
It was quite a number of years ago that Winnipeg experienced a time of drought and a basic lowering of the water table. I remember it well because there were several calls regarding it. I don’t really know now whether it was confined to the south end of the city or was generally all around. But it happened about a year after I had sold that place in Wildwood Park. The whole business stands out in my mind in that there was an apparent first time problem with that place.
These homes were built by C. T. Lount in a radical manner in that they were slab on grade with a network of copper piping in the slab to heat the floor. What that did was to eliminate the furnace while keeping the whole house warm in winter. It was especially comfortable on the feet in January. This was a radical departure from the usual method of construction and was quite a remarkable marketing coup for Lount at the time.
The problem that came up was that the floor was experiencing some serious cracks to the extent that the copper pipe in it was also cracking and causing a serious amount of distress. While I somehow heard about this problem, I had no ambition to get involved in it. I had my hands full with other things and didn’t need that added to them.
At about the same time I had another call about a house in Riverview where the earth had shrunk away from the foundation and there was (now) water coming into the basement. (Of course it wouldn’t rain unless preconditions existed to do the most damage). Well, now it rained.
Doing some research on the property, I found that it had been built by Hiro Hashimoto. Hiro was one of those builders who, if he built something, it stayed built. Well this was a situation that even he could not get under his command. If you build something on a virtual swamp and then somebody drains it, well there was nothing to be done about it. So I blew that one away too.
I must say that this had nothing in particular to do with my real estate business, except that it was one of the peripheral consequences one had to deal with. And it was one of the things that had happened to one of the houses I had listed and sold. I tell it here merely to point out that there is more to real estate than real estate alone.
I suppose I could do a whole section on what happens to houses in this eternal bog called Winnipeg like the periodical disappearance of the third sub-basement of the Hudson’s Bay Store and so on, but suffice it to say that like the people of the Florida Coast, we don’t know any better either. It’s strange how the people along the Mekong Delta know how to protect their entire villages from flood and we, here in the developed world can’t figure that out.

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