From:  Bill Maurer
To:  Mayor and Council - DNV
Cc:  Nancy Van Insberghe; Jozsef Dioszeghy; James Ridge; Dan Jarvis; Colleen Brow; Bob Bugslag
Sent:  Thu 12/15/2005 10:35 AM
Subject:  Insberghe property

In a meeting last Monday prior to the in-cabinet council meeting Nancy Van Insberghe was informed that the district was no longer interested in purchasing her property due to “liability concerns”.

Since October the district has been pointing fingers at the province and the province has been pointing fingers at the district as to why the purchase of this property is not proceeding. It must be made abundantly clear to each of you that the reason this property is not being purchased is solely the fault of the district. The 8 properties which are being purchased are all being titled to the district. James Ridge is placing additional conditions on this property by insisting that the district does not want title or wishes provincial indemnification before accepting title. The purchase is not proceeding as a direct result of this. He has not given any specific reasons as to why this is the case although there is suspicion that the MIA altered the districts insurance policy sometime in October to exclude the escarpment from its coverage area.

The argument that the district somehow has less liability by insisting that a resident must remain on an unsafe property against her will and by continuing to collect property taxes on the property is nonsense. The only way to maximize safety to district residents and to minimize liability to the district is to purchase the property, remove all structures, and restore it back to its natural state.

What is in the public record?

1)       A runout model showing that the Insberghe property is in the path of potential future landslides

2)       The district has agreed to do a geotech study of the entire escarpment and make the results public.

3)       The land immediately adjacent to the slide area is at higher risk to slide because it is no longer anchored by the forest cover which used to be present where the slide occurred.

4)       The access to Nancy Insberghe’s property goes directly through the slide area. Part of it is district property and part of it is the panhandle which the district wishes to purchase.

5)       Nancy Van Insberghe has been out of her home for 11 months yet is forced to pay for services and taxes which she cannot use.

6)       The district and province agreed to purchase the property last August in a package of 9 properties felt to be at risk on lots immediately surrounding the slide.

7)       The district has purchased properties above and below Nancy’s home due to slide risk and/or property damage from the slide.

8)       James Ridge, DNV and Bob Bugslag, PEP have written letters indicating that they empathize with Nancy’s position and are doing everything they can to address her concerns.

9)       Nancy has incurred substantial legal costs as a result of the letter sent to her in August and in negotiations between her lawyer and district lawyer Reece Harding and in getting property appraisals.

10)   Even though Nancy has now stopped using a lawyer, the district’s high priced CAO continues to retain the district lawyer as his spokesperson (at considerable taxpayer expense) in all communications with her. 

11)   The province has agreed to pay for the purchase of this property as soon as it gets approval from James Ridge with the stipulation that the transfer of title goes to the district.

12)   The province has and continues to financially support its municipalities in times of disaster.

13)   There is structural damage to Nancy’s home including significant cracking at the foundations and some wall areas which appears to be from slope movement or slippage which has occurred as a result of the slide.

14)   Legal advice given to the district 25 years ago was short sighted and has resulted in significant liability by the district today and cost to human life. The same is true of the legal advice being given today when there is significantly more evidence that the Insberghe property is in danger of a future slide.

15)   The Insberghe property was developed 25 years ago at the same time as the Kuttner property with an identical geographical topology.

16)   All documentation regarding the response to this landslide is being saved and will be available to the general public on the internet for decades to come. It will be online when the next slide occurs (even if that’s 50 years from now). The actions that each of you takes and the long term repercussions of these actions will form part of your legacy. The current location is

If you haven’t already done so I would encourage each of you to take the time and visit this property at 2430 Chapman Way. It’s easy to find by following the driveway straight up the landslide. Notice the steepness of the driveway, the sharp corner at the top, and realize that James is proposing that the district purchase this and maintain it as a public roadway. Once in the front yard of the property, pay particular attention to the closeness of the landslide and the catch basin a few feet from the living room window. Then look straight up and notice the steepness of the slope and realize that this is the exact same view that the Kuttners had above their property. Then look down and notice the location of the Dykes and Cowards property which have been purchased below. Notice the houses to the south of these which Nancy’s house will crash into if another slide like the Jan 19th slide occurs. The only reason that the Kuttner house did not impact a lower dwelling is that it was located above the intersection of Chapman and Treetop which is where it came to rest. This is not the case with Nancy’s home.



Bill Maurer
Seymour Valley Community Association, Seymour Escarpment Committee, Seymour Local Plan MC