UPDATE: More break-ins reported at Seawatch

Another blow for homeowners in Sechelt’s Seawatch neighbourhood.

Sunshine Coast RCMP have confirmed they’re investigating “several complaints about possible break and enters at a number of unoccupied residences in the 6600 block of Gale Avenue North.”

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A summary, released by RCMP as part of its weekly incident report, said “one owner had captured two suspects on his security camera attempting to gain entry to a residence, and others confirmed that one door had been kicked open. The suspects also smashed windows, kicked holes in walls and spray-painted graffiti.”

Pictures sent to Coast Reporter show some of the damage.

Homeowner Ed Pednaud told Coast Reporter that he and others learned about a new break-in at the subdivision last Friday from a property owner who still has working security cameras in place. The property owner said his home had been broken into Jan. 16.

“RCMP were notified but did not go on the site,” Pednaud said. “The next day a small group of us attended the house to try and lock it up.”

At that point a second break-in was discovered and reported to RCMP.

“My home was not one that was involved but frankly it is only a matter of time. We were promised security and it has not materialized. People job through there, walk their dogs through there and basically ignore what fencing is there,” said Pednaud.  “We all visit our homes periodically trying to show a presence and stave off this type of vandalism. When this type of event happens it feels like we are being victimized all over again.”

When the neighbourhood was evacuated last February, the protocol for RCMP and other first responders was to stay out of the evacuation zone except in cases of “imminent risk” of bodily harm or death.

After break-ins and vandalism in late August and early September of 2019, which RCMP claimed were the first such incidents reported since the neighbourhood was evacuated, the detachment commander of the Sunshine Coast RCMP said she would be meeting with district officials to discuss what other steps could be taken to protect the area.

Pednaud said while RCMP have promised to increase patrols, “realistically they have other things to do… We understand that the [District of Sechelt] is not overly concerned with our houses, but to us this is still home. My kids spent most of their young lives there. They learned to fish and swim and crab there. Many of their memories will be of Seawatch. The first ones will be very positive but unfortunately the latter ones will be filled with angst, anxiety and anger at what unfolded and how it unfolded.”

District of Sechelt communications manager Julie Roger said, “The neighbourhood is fenced and there are evacuation signs on the fence. Other security measures will not be commented on publicly as it would defeat the nature of the security.”

RCMP said the recent incidents are still under investigation and have asked anyone with information to contact the detachment and reference file 2020-377.

The owners of 12 Seawatch properties, including Pednaud, are involved in legal actions against the District of Sechelt, province of B.C. and others dating back to 2015, when the first home was declared unlivable due to sinkhole risks. The first of those cases is scheduled to go before a judge later this year.

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