They were meant to be dream homes, part of an oceanview subdivision on the Sunshine Coast in Sechelt’s Seawatch neighbourhood.
But erosion and sinkholes have made an expensive nightmare for homeowners on the shore of West Porpoise Bay.
Coverage of sinkholes on Globalnews.ca:
Ross and Erin Storey’s dream ended the day their their front yard disappeared. The sinkhole that opened up forced them from their new home; officials had to condemn the building.
They want answers. And so far no one seems to be taking responsibility.
“You know, you think you buy a home in 2010 and you’ve got insurance and government and you think that…. things were built correctly,” Erin Storey told Global News.
The unstable ground in the Seawatch neighbourhood has been an issue for years.
Residents have said the district knew the land was suspect as early as the 1990s. The situation, they said, has escalated into an emergency.
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New sinkholes are opening, the latest one just weeks ago.
A recent engineering report said immediate action needs to be taken or lives will be placed at risk.
“The engineers have been right on, they predicted that everything that was going to happen in this neighbourhood has happened,” said resident Rod Goy.
“Now we’re to the point where our neighbours and ourselves are facing the most looming damage because of inaction by the district.”
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The District of Sechelt recognizes this is a difficult situation, but maintains that even though it is named in a lawsuit, this is an issue between the developer and homeowners, and that residents need to evaluate their own personal safety.
“I think the decisions were made appropriately by the council of the day,” said District of Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne.
“And I think, I assume, that the people who developed the land as private developers and the people who purchased the land as homeowners, all were aware of that information, they have covenants on their title and they made decisions that they thought were appropriate.”
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Milne said the district has been transparent with residents, sharing every report they’ve received on the issue.
He said there is no “quick solution,” that any fix will need to take the entire area into consideration — and will likely come with a price tag in the ballpark of $10 million.
“And no guarantees whatsoever that it’s effective. In fact, some people have read those engineering reports and said if you de-water the site, you’ll have more problems.”
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That’s not good enough for Chris Moradian. He bought his dream home in good faith with an understanding of the risks of living on a hillside, and he said the district never should have let people live there.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that something went wrong back in 2004-2005 when this thing was approved,” he said.
“The original approval did not contain any warning to the future occupants of the land that it was going to be hazardous.”
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