A geotechnical report into the sinkhole found on Seawatch Lane says more sinkholes, springs and landslides could occur in the future at the Seawatch at The Shores development.
The report compiled by Thurber Engineering Ltd. states that issues with underground water flow are the source of the problem. That problem was identified at the site as early as 1993 when an assessment was done for the District of Sechelt.
Multiple assessments were done after that, which also pointed to issues with sinkholes, springs and soil instability, and remedies were suggested to curb the water flow. Concordia Seawatch Ltd. instituted some of those remedies and was permitted to start building high-end homes in the area.
In June of this year, a large sinkhole developed on Seawatch Lane, causing the District of Sechelt to close the road and hire Thurber Engineering to investigate.
Their investigation showed the issue is much deeper than just fixing one sinkhole in the road.
“The issue of how to resolve it is very complex,” said Sechelt Mayor John Henderson. “Finding out where water runs through the ground is never easy and the impact of that water running is equally complex. So what I think we’re facing is a lot more technical assessments.”
The District paid for the most recent assessment and may cough up the cash for another.
“We’ve taken this initial action out of an abundance of caution. When something like that happens, you don’t discuss who should pay for it. You get the work going and you get it done and you worry about that later,” Henderson said.
Developers of the Seawatch property, Concordia Seawatch Ltd., said they will follow the District’s lead.
“We are working with the District of Sechelt and we have always had geotechnical and structural engineers working for us and we will continue to do exactly that, to follow the leadership of the engineers and make sure that the development is safe,” said Ron Antalek, co-owner of Concordia Seawatch Ltd.
He noted building has stopped at the site for now with just a handful of homes erected and it won’t resume until the company gets the green light from geotechnical engineers.
“We’ve got lots of engineers working for us and we’ll follow their leadership as we always have from day one,” Antalek said.
The next steps for the District include having more detailed engineering reports done and talking with concerned residents in the area.
“It’s a very concerning time, of course, so we’re trying all of us to work together to figure out what needs to be done,” Henderson noted.