Minutes of the Seymour Escarpment Committee Meeting

April 14, 2005

DNV Hall, 355 W Queens Rd,  Meeting Room B


Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m.    Phil Holland (acting chair) Bill Maurer (acting secretary), Nancy Van Insberge, Shirley McLaren, Cas Bohlken, Henry Reisner, Tony Webb, Lana Webb, Grace Tyler, Eric Andersen, Renee Porter, Jim Porter

1. Adoption of minutes. Minutes accepted as written. Moved by Bill, seconded by Shirley.

2. Geotechnical Reports: What is the scope of the work? None of the current geotechnical work being undertaken is being controlled directly by the district. The 2 companies currently contracted to do geotechnical work in the area of the landslide are retained by the district's lawyers and by the district's insurance company. The contractors working for the insurance company provide no input to staff. The contractors working for the district's lawyers provide limited input to staff. This is designed to protect the district from lawsuits since they do not have direct knowledge of the work being undertaken. There is a concern that the focus of both of these groups is to limit liability and not the long term safety of residents. There is also a feeling that current provincial legislation provides significant protection to the district and that this is an over reaction caused by the conservative nature of both the district insurers and lawyers. In the 1979 slides the district was held harmless and all settled claims were between homeowners.

The Klohn Leonoff report was released to some homeowners without requiring a release signature as was originally intended.

When will the geotech(s) paid for by the $275K allocated out of this year's district budget be retained by the district and start work.

The district has provided a color drawing of the utilities in the area near the slide on its GeoWeb. Can this be extended to the entire Berkley / Riverside area? This information is currently only available on B&W construction drawings for the rest of the escarpment.

3. Slope Stabilization Work:

The district will be providing three stages of study:

    a) immediate slide area
    b) the area next to the slide (2 to 3 homes North and South)
    c) the rest of the escarpment

Are the water level piezometers being placed in glacial till or fill?

One of the senior geotechs working for the district lawyers is Brian Thompson.

Soil analysis can take up to 6 weeks

Get a written statement of the scope of the work, phasing, & timelines (project plan)

Where are the geotechs currently working? Where are the holes?

What is the future of the Dyke's house?

4. District Liaison: The Seymour Escarpment committee is in need of  a district liaison person to assist with communications between the district and the committee. The focus of the committee is currently the Seymour Escarpment. In the long run it  may form the basis of a more general slope stability advisory committee which communicates slope stability issues and concerns between residents and DNV for the entire district. Good candidates for this may be James Ridge, Jozseph Diozseghy, Jeanine Bratina, or Colleen Brow.

It was also suggested that both provincial (Dan Jarvis) and federal (Don Bell) representatives be cc'd on correspondence so that they are aware of the work and issues being addressed by this committee.

5. Homeowner / District Responsibilities: Homeowners are required to do any remediation work on their own properties. The district is required to do any remediation work on district land. The district also has a responsibility to ensure overall slope stability and therefore is the agency which is required to monitor both private and public properties for issues affecting this. This includes but is not limited to: slope overburdening, slope underctting, storm sewer runoff, and retaining structure stability. Homeowners can undertake to do remediation work on their own accord or may be ordered to do so by the district if it feels their is an imminent safety issue. As of April 5 three homeowners in the Berkeley / Riverside area have been ordered to undertake remedial work. The district is willing to provide geotech assessments of existing properties and structures at no charge to homeowners. Homeowners are required to hire their own geotech consultants before embarking on new construction on or near slopes. Contractors cannot start construction activity on or near slopes without an independent geotech assessment. The storm sewer on Berkely ends at 2249 Berkely. The district will need to extend this before they can require homeowners north of this location to connect their roof drains to the storm sewer system. The district has the option to fine homeowners refusing to comply with remediation orders or to undertake the work itself and then add it to the tax assessment or place a lien against the property for the cost of the work. This is the same mechanism used in other construction related bylaw violations.

Is financial assistance available to homeowners who cannot afford to undertake remediation efforts required of them?

We need to get written confirmation of this information from the district. Some of this information was provided verbally be Joszeph Diozseghy at the Seymour Valley Community Association AGM held on April 5th.

6. Other Business:

What was the topography of the escarpment before Berkley was developed in the 50's. Who altered it? Get old photogrpahs.

The original Berkley development is the area with overhead Hydro. The more recently developed section has underground Hydro.

What is the age of the homes at the top and bottom of the escarpment?

Alf Cockle, Dee Norris, and Blair Wilson have been residents of the area since the 60's and perhaps 50's.

See if any old aerial photos are available of the escarpment which show topography.

Check the archives for old photos of the area. What role did logging companies play in the area's development?

Can further information be retrieved from the GeoWeb which may be useful. Is the map showing all slides from the escarpment available online?

7. Next meeting: try to schedule regular meetings on the second Thursday of every month at the District Hall.

 Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.