Fear of collapse closes portion of White Rock lane

A neighbour examines the impact of excavation that the City of White Rock fears compromised the stability of a lane behind Columbia Avenue. - Tracy Holmes photo
A neighbour examines the impact of excavation that the City of White Rock fears compromised the stability of a lane behind Columbia Avenue.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

A section of a lane behind Columbia Avenue in White Rock is closed to traffic – including emergency vehicles – after the thoroughfare’s stability was threatened by excavation Friday.

“We’re concerned that they may have compromised the safety of the lane access,” Richard Wilson, the city’s acting director of development services, explained of the measure.

The work in question was undertaken with the intent of installing a retaining wall.

Barricades were erected in the lane from Ash Street to west of 15531 Columbia Ave. and an order for immediate backfill was issued after a resident reported an unsafe situation.

Wilson said inspection determined the bank behind two under-construction homes was cut straight down on the rear property line, without the required supervision of a geotechnical engineer.

“There is a geotechnical engineer on the project but he wasn’t called in by the developer to address this latest work, which is obviously a mistake on the developer’s part,” he said.

A man who lives near the site said city officials told him they were concerned that vehicles using the lane in that compromised state could trigger a collapse.

“He said a heavy truck going up the lane could’ve ended up in a house,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name.

In addition to backfill, the city ordered the developer to have the geotechnical engineer assess the situation and devise a plan to secure the excavation.

City officials were to return to the site Monday.

The lane will not be reopened until it has been certified safe – “as soon as possible,” Wilson said.

The lane was still closed to traffic at Peace Arch News press time.

Wilson said a permit for the work was in place.

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