Sink­holes leave B.C. home­own­ers with po­ten­tially worth­less homes

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - RANDY SHORE

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.

RANDY SHORE

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.

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