People living in a condo complex in Langley have been forced from their homes after a retaining wall beside the building began to cave in on Sunday.
The incident happened just before noon at a building on Michaud Crescent.
It’s the second time in a year that the wall – which is meant for a new building – started to show signs of wear. Residents say they noticed the ground was shifting in recent months and once the snow cleared, they could see the full extent of the damage.
Joan Robinson lives on the first floor, right above the damage, and says she could hear the ice cracking.
“I thought somebody was walking across my balcony. It was still icy, and it was extremely loud cracking. It sounded like some Abominable Snowman was walking on the ice,” she said, adding she eventually checked over the edge of her balcony to discover the damage.
She says neighbours noticed first the fence around their building started to lean a month or two ago, but the cracking along the tree line started in early spring.
“Our custodian of the complex has gone to the (construction) company a few times and said the tree roots are coming up. I think for me, personally is to hold them accountable,” she said, adding the company was questioned about its work and its impacts on the surrounding area before it got underway.
“Questions were asked about the water table and if it would be disturbed by the construction and we were told adamantly not. (The company said it) had done the proper procedures to figure things out and how they were going to construct this building… And it has been concerning since the garden gave away in April of 2020.”
She says the damaged area has grown since Sunday and the wind on Monday morning made her worry the trees would be knocked down.
“I’m very concerned, not only for myself, but for everybody in the building.”
Power and utilities to the building have been cut off, impacting around 39 BC Hydro customers.
BC Hydro says it contacted customers to let them know they would be without power overnight. It appears they may need to spend a second night without electricity.
“It’s not safe at this point for our crews to enter and begin repair work on the underground duct bank that was damaged. The area is still prone to further erosion,” BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott wrote in a statement.
“We understand that the developer is in the process of securing a temporary generator that could be brought to the site to bring power to the condo residents.”
It is unclear when the generator could arrive or when BC Hydro may be given the green light to begin repairs.
Residents have been given three nights at a hotel while the damage is being assessed.
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