Sinkholes leave B.C. homeowners with potentially worthless homes
S EC H E LT At least one British Columbia family has been forced from their home permanently and possibly a dozen others are left with potentially worthless properties as sinkholes spread through a Sechelt subdivision.
Ross and Erin Storey moved to the Sunshine Coast to raise their three children, but their $500,000 home in the Seawatch neighbourhood was condemned in 2015 after the ground beneath their home gave way. Since then several new sinkholes have opened.
Attractive executive homes are set into a steep hillside but the road is blocked with cement barriers.
“We moved here to live in our dream home and now we can’t even go inside,” said Ross. “We are still paying a $450,000 mortgage and property taxes.”
They can’t even walk away from the house and leave it to the bank without being stripped of their business assets.
“We have to fight,” said Ross. After mediation failed, the Storeys filed suit against the District of Sechelt, the developer Concordia Seawatch, 14 engineering firms, home insurer Travelers Guarantee and five real estate agents.
Ross Storey does not believe the development can be repaired, which is why he is seeking compensation for the loss of his home.
“There are issues no one can identify, no one knows how to fix and no one knows what it will cost or if it will work,” said Storey. “That means there is no fix.”
Rod and Donna Goy’s home is not damaged, but they are surrounded by craters, failing roads and broken sanitary sewers.
Goy and his neighbours are still pressing the District to repair the storm sewers, a utility corridor and the road, which was undermined three years ago.
“We are asking them to fix their property, not ours,” he said.
Mayor Bruce Milne said the district was not prepared to “put a Band-Aid” on individual problems when stability issues permeate the entire site.
The District of Sechelt said it would not attempt to fix the area’s groundwater problems because there was no guarantee the $10-million drainage system would even work but would lead to an immediate 8.5 per cent increase in property taxes.
Ross and Erin Storey are paying a mortgage on a house they can’t set foot in after a sinkhole opened up in their front yard in Sechelt. They’re suing the developer, engineering firms and the municipality.