By JUSTIN BEDDALL Staff
Dec 29 2005
For Nancy Van Insberghe,
Christmas may come in January.
That’s when District of
North Vancouver council is expected to receive a
geotechnical report that will — in all likelihood —
determine the fate of her home, located at the foot of the
Blueridge Escarpment area.
Van Insberghe owns one of
the nine properties that the District of North Vancouver had
planned to purchase in the aftermath of the January 19th
slide that killed Eliza Kuttner and seriously injured her
Although Van Insberghe’s
home is directly adjacent to the Kuttner’s, she recently
learned that the District — which has already reached
settlements with eight of the other homeowners — would not
be offering her a full buy-out package.
The news came as a shock to
Van Insberghe after the District had stated in August that
it would buy the nine homes “after a geotechnical
investigation confirmed that these properties have either a
lower than acceptable factor of safety or may be affected by
But, according to the
District, the preliminary assessment of her home concluded
that it was only necessary to purchase a small portion of
two-acre property — the driveway area, which was impacted by
“There is no known
geotechnical risk to the property or the house,” a press
release issued by the District on Dec. 21 noted.
Two weeks ago, District of
North Van spokeswoman Colleen Brow told The North Shore
Outlook: “After analyzing the property and assessing its
degree of risk, the District, as well as the province,
concluded there was a need to buy a portion of the property.
That was a decision made by the District and the province
together after assessing the property’s degree of risk.”
After a series of
unsuccessful correspondence with District officials, Van
Insberghe, who did not return a request for an interview by
The Outlook during the week of Dec. 15, went public
with her story, which garnered a spate of pre-Christmas news
That may or may not have
prompted the District’s latest announcement.
“The District is continuing
discussions aimed at finding a successful outcome for Nancy
Van Insberghe, the property’s owner, who wishes to divest
herself of the entire property,” noted the Dec. 21 District
It continued: “Because
there is an insurance coverage issue associated with the
property, the municipality is trying to resolve the ongoing
concerns of Ms. Van Insberghe without exposing its taxpayers
to the risks of owning a potentially uninsurable property.”
The release goes on to
state that both the District and the provincial government
are working to find a solution agreeable to both parties.
Jarek Jakubec, a principle
in the Vancouver-based engineering company SRK Consulting,
is in the process of drafting DNV council a letter in regard
to Van Insberghe’s property.
He says that to his
knowledge the geotechnical risk report on the District’s
website does not properly address the overall safety issues
relating to her property on Chapman Way.
“Yet I was told this is the
report on which the decision was based,” he said.
Jakubec, whose interest in
the home on Chapman Way is as a District resident, not as a
professional engineer, said issues such as the structural
integrity of Van Insberghe’s home in the event landslide are
not covered in the report. That may, however, be addressed
when a new report on the landslide risks of all homes in the
Blueridge Escarpment area is released in mid-January.
According to the District,
that report will include more information on Van Insberghe’s
“In light of the upcoming
geotechnical report, additional information concerning the
insurability of the lands purchased along the escarpment,
the Council’s desire to fully understand any potential risk
the purchase of this property might present to District
taxpayers, Council has committed to a careful and thorough
discussion of all aspects of the situation,” the District’s
Dec. 21 release concluded.
Van Insberghe did not
return a call from The Outlook for this story. The District
of North Vancouver, meanwhile, is closed until Monday, Jan.