Sinkhole hazard: Evacuation order for entire Sechelt subdivision
With a local state of emergency in effect, a B.C. subdivision is now under evacuation order.
The District of Sechelt issued both the state of emergency and the order at 1 p.m. Friday, a week after residents were first put on alert.
The order applies to 14 properties located on two streets in the Sunshine Coast municipality:
- 6629 to 6689 North Gale Avenue
- 6644 to 6649 Seawatch Lane
Residents of the homes in the Seawatch subdivision learned last week that a review prompted by a massive sinkhole on Christmas Day determined the area was unsafe.
"Geotechnical instability in the Seawatch Concordia Subdivision has resulted in multiple sinkholes," the District of Sechelt said in a statement.
Those who live in the neighbourhood have been forced to leave due to what the district called "potential danger to life and health."
Barricades, fences and signage have been erected in the area, blocking access.
'I don't know how much more one can take'
In an emotional interview, Greg and Gerry Latham said they're devastated to be leaving.
"I don't know how much more one can take," Gerry said.
Her husband told CTV they've faced losses in their lives including loved ones and other things.
"You think that you can't suffer anything worse than that. We've now discovered that this at least compares if not worse than that," Greg said.
"This was our nest egg, this was our last home. We paid good money for this place, everything we had was invested in it."
Greg said leaving the community they built roots in is difficult, but the hardest part is they'd promised a close friend they took care of when he was dying that his ashes would stay at the property.
Through tears, he revealed how heartbroken he was that they couldn't keep the promise.
"This loss, if we can't get it corrected, will impact us for the rest of our life," Greg said.
He said they're hopeful they'll find a way through the situation he said is no fault of their own. No realtors disclosed anything to them as they purchased the home, despite what he says is a "long history about how this land should have never been developed."
On Thursday, another couple who'd recently learned they'd have to leave their dream home told CTV News they felt panic, shock and anger.
It is not known when the ground underneath the subdivision became unstable, but the Goys feel they should never have been allowed to move in five years ago.
"It's just shameful. It's a shame that we have to be thrown out this way and not even know where we're going," Donna Goy said.
Next steps unclear
The mayor told CTV the developers behind the subdivision had acquired all the permits and reports required by the district, including reports signed off on by three types of engineers.
The district's position on the ordeal is that taxpayers should not be held responsible for remedying "a problem created by a private venture."
An estimate suggested stabilizing the land would cost as much as $10 million, and the fix may not be permanent.
In a statement to CTV News, the developer said it has "great concern and compassion for the homeowners and families that are now being required to leave their homes."
Concordia Seawatch Ltd. and others are currently involved in civil litigation in connection with the development, the company said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Emad Agahi in Sechelt