District investigates Seawatch issues

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
December 1, 2012 01:00 AM

In order to enter private lands to conduct a geotechnical study of the Seawatch site, the District of Sechelt passed a resolution Nov. 26 at a special council meeting.

"We had some questions from residents and from Concordia that this could involve us going onto private property. So the meeting on Monday was to have council provide a resolution to authorize Thurber Engineering and their subcontractors to enter into private property within the Seawatch subdivision in order to conduct the geotechnical investigation work," Mayor John Henderson said.

He said a promised report from the developers, Concordia Seawatch, did come but it was not detailed enough to get a clear understanding of the issues and hazards at the site.

"My understanding is that it focused on a very particular area of the project at one end, I guess you'd call it the northwest end of the property. Of course the sinkhole and so on is generally at the southeast end of the property. We're concerned with identifying the risks throughout the property, and that's what we've got our team working on now," he said.

Henderson is unsure when the detailed report from Thurber will be completed.

"I don't think they know because once they get in I would surmise that it's the kind of thing where you do some work and then, depending what you find, you may need to do more or you may not need to do more," he said. "The important thing is we've taken matters into our own hands to make sure things get done to protect the safety of the citizens in that area."

Projected costs for the work to be done by Thurber Engineering are unclear at this point.

"We can't quantify it until we know how much work needs to be done," Henderson said. "It is our expectation that we'll get this work done and part of the process over the last several weeks and months has been to ensure Concordia had the opportunity to do it themselves. Failing that, they'll be paying us to do it."

Ron Davis, co-owner of Concordia Seawatch, said the report presented to Sechelt was what the District asked for and reiterated that Concordia had used "one of the top geotechnical firms in the country," Golder and Associates, to prepare the report.

"I don't know who would be critiquing what Golder did, but Golder did their work according to Thurber's suggestions," he said.

Davis said his company has not agreed to pay for any work being done now by the District and that the company is "in the process" of going to court over Sechelt's handling of the issue.

They recently served the District with a notice of claim for damages, and Concordia's lawyer has said they are "in the process of applying to the Supreme Court for judicial review of certain decisions by the District." However, nothing had been filed by press time Thursday.

A sinkhole developed on Seawatch Lane at the Seawatch development in June of this year. Since its discovery, the District has pressed Concordia Seawatch to fix the hole and investigate all geotechnical issues on site.

Concordia Seawatch has said the sinkhole is on District land and therefore is not their responsibility.

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