Sechelt starts investigation, developer sues

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
November 16, 2012 01:00 AM

The dispute over who is responsible for the sinkhole on Seawatch lands is now heading to Supreme Court.

The District of Sechelt has started to do their own geotechnical investigation of the Seawatch lands, despite word a report may be on the way.

Mayor John Henderson told Coast Reporter Nov. 13 that the developer failed to do the requested work, forcing the District into action.

"So we took this action. We said to our professional Thurber Engineering how fast can you get going and I think it was early this week [they started]," he said.

The move was met with legal action from Concordia Seawatch Ltd., who said the requested report was undertaken and should be on the District's desk by today (Nov. 16).

The company said they hired Golder and Associates, a District-approved firm, to the do the investigation.

"The engineer is a senior engineer from Golder and Associates. He told the District two weeks ago that it would be ready hopefully Wednesday, that would be today. I talked to him and he said I should be able to pick it up tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. because I'll be going past his office and heading to Sechelt. So it will be on their desk on Friday morning," Concordia Seawatch co-owner Ron Davis told Coast Reporter Nov. 14.

The District ordered Con-cordia Seawatch Ltd. to investigate potentially hazardous sinkholes and other geotechnical issues at their site on Oct. 24, about four months after a sinkhole developed on Seawatch Lane.

Citing no movement, on Nov. 7 Sechelt council endorsed an in-camera resolution to do their own study.

In response to that resolution, lawyers for Concordia sent out a press release Nov. 14 saying the company is "in the process of applying to the Supreme Court for judicial review of certain decisions by the District. They will also be serving the District with a notice of claim for damages."

Davis said he felt forced to take the action.

"We feel no choice. They basically involved the lawyers right off the get-go and we're not familiar with that, we've never been in this situation in our 25 years," he said. "It's a very in-depth situation that's evolved and suffice to say Concordia has been in business for a long time. We take our job seriously and we are diligently working to resolve the issues that the District has. It's very important to note that the sinkhole is in the roadway and it's actually a District responsibility, but they're putting a lot of pressure on us to fix it."

It is still unclear what all the geotechnical issues are at the Seawatch site.

Davis noted neither Concordia or the District have seen the findings of the most recent Golder and Associates report yet.

Meanwhile a new area has been cordoned off at the Seawatch development.

Recent heavy rains caused a "small slide" in the area, according to Sechelt's chief of innovation and growth, Randy Stoyko.

"We did want to make sure, to put up those barriers so people were aware of it and to be cautious of the area," he said.

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