Neighbours evacuated as wall buckles

Excavation for a home at 14919 Beachview Ave. stopped short last week, when a retaining wall collapsed, threatening the stability of two neighbouring homes. - Nick Greenizan photo
Excavation for a home at 14919 Beachview Ave. stopped short last week, when a retaining wall collapsed, threatening the stability of two neighbouring homes.
— image credit: Nick Greenizan photo

Residents of a Buena Vista Avenue home had to be evacuated Thursday evening, after an excavation site immediately south of their property collapsed, threatening the building’s stability.

Paul Stanton, White Rock’s director of planning and development services, said it is sheer luck no one was injured in the retention-wall collapse, which occurred at 14919 Beachview Ave.

“The gentlemen that had been in the site and putting plastic up to minimize erosion if it rained were lucky it didn’t happen when they were down in the excavation hole,” Stanton said Monday.

“It could’ve been very serious. The property owner above, part of his land slid down into the excavation site.”

Stanton said the trouble was caused by excavation that was done close to an existing retaining wall which hadn’t been stabilized. Soils behind the wall were organic, the wall collapsed, and the land behind it, most of which was fill, slid down, he said.

In addition to one neighbour being asked to find alternate accommodations for the weekend, the city had to tell the residents of a property to the west to stay off of their home’s deck.

The Beachview property was the site of another near-tragedy Friday, when a truck and trailer hauling fill to stabilize the excavation tipped into it.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in any of the chaos.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin described the incident as “an expensive, expensive lesson” for the builder, who is responsible for restitution of the two other affected properties.

“The homeowner has a lot of work to do,” he said, attributing the problem to “some engineering advice that wasn’t particularly good.”

Stanton wouldn’t comment on that issue, other than to say the city requires a geotechnical engineer to sign off on the process for excavation and shoring of such sites. In this case, “another geotechnical firm has been brought in to deal with it now.”

A stop-work order has been issued on the new-home construction. How soon it will be lifted depends on how quickly the problems are addressed, Stanton said.


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