A delay in document posting by the District of Sechelt led some to believe that the State of Local Emergency (SOLE) order mandating the closure of Sechelt’s Seawatch subdivision was over as of Jan. 8.
That was not the case. While updates from Sechelt on the SOLE were not provided, Emergency Management BC confirmed to Coast Reporter that the Minister responsible for the Emergency Program Act approved the SOLE extension between Jan. 8 and 14. That approval was granted on Jan. 4. Neither that document nor one approved on Jan. 10, extending the order to Jan. 21, were posted on the fencing surrounding the closed subdivision or on the municipality’s website as of Jan.11.
On a visit to the site midday on Jan 11, Coast Reporter observed the SOLE order posted at the site was one from December 2021. Also observed was a hole in the fencing large enough for a person to pass through, which was reported to the RCMP. Some of the warning signs and barricades previously at site had also been moved.
Sechelt was granted emergency powers to close public access and evacuate the residents of the subdivision in efforts to protect the health, safety or welfare of people and to limit property damage. The order was originally issued by the municipality on Feb.15, 2019 due to a risk of land subsidence, sinkholes and slope instability in the subdivision. It took that action based on the advice of geotechnical consultants who had investigated a sinkhole that daylighted near a road in the subdivision on Dec. 25, 2018.
Since March 2019, Sechelt has applied to province each week, a total of 148 times, to extend the SOLE order.