By JUSTIN BEDDALL Staff
Dec 15 2005
One of the nine
landslide-affected homes scheduled to be purchased by the
District of North Vancouver is no longer being considered
for a complete full buy-out package, leaving the homeowner
in a precarious position.
The home in question —
located at 2430 Chapman Way — is next door to the home that
was destroyed during the January 19 landslide that claimed
the life of one of its occupants, Eliza Kuttner, and
seriously injured her husband.
“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,” explained District of North
Vancouver spokeswoman Colleen Brow. “That was a decision
made by the District and the province together after
assessing the property’s degree of risk.”
In a Nov. 9 letter to Mayor
Janice Harris, the home’s owner, Nancy Van Insberghe, stated
her displeasure over the situation.
“I was completely
devastated to be told in the last few days that the District
may no longer be willing to purchase my home at 2430 Chapman
Way, as both the District and Province promised three months
ago,” she wrote.
In August, the District
announced at a press conference that it would be purchasing
nine homes — including the residence at 2430 Chapman Way.
The District noted in a
press release that the decision to buy the homes was made
“after a geotechnical investigation confirmed that these
properties have either a lower than acceptable factor of
safety or may be affected by future landslides.”
At the time, then Mayor
Harris and District CAO James Ridge told the media that the
homes would be purchased at full-market value, for a total
estimated in the neighbourhood of $6 million. Following
January’s slide more than 100 homes were evacuated.
Van Insberghe noted in her
letter that her home suffered structural damage as a result
“As I stated before I
cannot live in my home for fear of another slide,” she said.
Then, on Nov. 30, she wrote
a second letter to Harris, mayor-elect Richard Walton and
In it, she noted that she
has been homeless for 10 months and received no support from
“No one even has the
decency to answer my letters,” she wrote. “My life’s savings
are tied up in a property that cannot be sold to anyone
other than the District. I have incurred thousands of
dollars of legal and appraisal fees following a process
initiated by the District that has led nowhere, and no one
will even tell me what is going on.
She continued: “The events
of the last 10 months have had, and continue to have, a
significant impact on my health.”
Brow said she was unaware
of the actual percentage of the Chapman property that the
District was prepared to purchase.
She did confirm that the
District has reached full settlements with seven of the nine
homeowners — with an eighth deal pending.
“All of the homeowners were encouraged to get independent
studies done of their properties which they did, as well the
District hired assessors to inspect the properties,” Brow
noted about the settlement process.
Both parties then
negotiated a final settlement total that was vetted by the
province. She said she didn’t have a final buyout cost.
“At this point we don’t
have the final because the discussions aren’t complete,” she
As for the fate of Van
Insberghe’s property, Brow said. “We are continuing to work
with the homeowner. We are still meeting with the homeowner,
we are talking with the homeowner, this is ongoing. We’re
communicating with her regularly and we will be meeting with
her in the near future. This is an ongoing dialogue. We’re
continuing to work with her.”
Brow said the homes
purchased by the District at the top of the slope would be
demolished and turned into green space when the weather
permits — and geotechnical engineers green-light the
project. The homes at the bottom of the escarpment,
meanwhile, will be demolished this spring or summer.
In the next month the
District will be installing 20 more piezometers in the slope
that will allow geotechnical engineers to measure ground
water and rain water levels remotely in a live data stream
rather than reading them manually.