Homes in this Sechelt neighbourhood were evacuated after a sinkhole made them unsafe in February 2019. (Google Maps)

Homes in this Sechelt neighbourhood were evacuated after a sinkhole made them unsafe in February 2019. (Google Maps)

Developer, government deny negligence in Sechelt sinkhole lawsuit

Homes in a Sechelt neighbourhood were evacuated due to a sinkhole in February 2019

No one is accepting responsibility for the 12 homes evacuated as a result of a sinkhole in Sechelt earlier this year, a series of court documents show.

The documents, the last of which were filed on Oct. 31, represent the legal action taken by two people who were forced to leave their home after a sinkhole developed in the Sunshine Coast community in February. The homes in the affected subdivision were valued at around $1 million each.

READ MORE: ‘Dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Rodney Burwell Goy and Donna Lynn Goy submitted a notice of civil claim in August, alleging the District of Sechelt, the province, developer Concordia Seawatch Ltd. and two co-owners Ronald Davis and Ronald Antalek, and Hollywell Properties and real estate agents Barbie Whitworth and Shay Moudahi, were negligent in developing, building and selling the home to the couple.

The civil suit takes aim at Concordia Seawatch, alleging that during initial construction in fall 2005, the land showed “numerous sinkholes and other incidents of landslip, soil subsidence and similar geotechnical events.”

The Goys allege the municipality was “actively involved” in monitoring and assessing geotechnical conditions. Specifically, they claim the district directed Concordia Seawatch to “repair sinkholes and remedy conditions that rendered the lands potentially unstable.”

The civil claim notes that after a 2013 report warning of the issues with the land, the district had a duty to warn prospective buyers of the full extent of the problems, “which it knew had occurred on the Seawatch Lands since 2oo5.”

The couple bought the property in 2013, and claim the real estate agents “were personally aware” of the severity of the geotechnical problems, as well as the future risks.

The Goys have asked for general and special damages against all defendants, and punitive damages against all parties except the real estate agents in compensation for their financial losses.

In response, the province alleges the Goys “knew or ought to have known” about the geotechnical issues, particularly sinkholes, to which the property was prone. The municipality, meanwhile, claims its decision to approve the development depended on Concordia Seawatch’s geotechnical reports.

For its part, Concordia Seawatch claims the contract the Goys signed had said the buyers are aware of and acknowledge its “geotechnical latent defect.” The developer denies negligence, and argues the district had other geotechnical information on the land that it “had a duty to share.”

Finally, the real estate agents deny negligence and claim the Goys failed to review geotechnical reports and documents that were provided to them or that they could have obtained with “reasonable” due diligence.

None of the claims has been proven in court.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden
Maple Ridge council considers budget with 3.6% property tax increase

Councillors trying to bring down tax hike during pandemic

Capri Bakery Bistro’s Daneile Atte is hoping the economic bounce-back from the COVID-19 slow down comes soon. (Ronan O’Doherty/The News)
Signs of hope for local economic recovery from COVID-19

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows stakeholders discuss the road back to normalcy for local businesses

The numbers of COVID-19 exposures continue to climb at Maple Ridge schools. (Pixabay)
‘The anxiety is pretty high,’ says Teachers Association president

There have been eight COVID-19 exposures at Maple Ridge schools in the past two weeks

Heather Walker, development coordinator at Community Services, is hoping the community will support their annual auction. (Community Services/Special to The News)
Largest auction fundraiser for Maple Ridge charity moved online

More than 100 items to bid on to support Community Services

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read