Retaining wall issue in Langford a bit of a conundrum

Residents in a section of Fleetwood Court are concerned about the stability of a nearby rock retaining wall.

Fleetwood Court resident Johnathan Chase Singfield checks out exposed tree roots at the base of a large retaining wall below his home.

When a section of Fleetwood Court was built high above Setchfield Road in Langford, the area topography required the use of large, engineered rock retaining walls to safely support the hillside and minimize the potential for the homes to slide down the hill in the event of an earthquake.

The lack of sewer services in the area at the time prompted developers to create septic fields below the walls, but after the homes were hooked up to the new sewer lines, the need for the septic fields was negated.

It was only a matter of time before someone moved to develop on the property below. In recent weeks, crews working on one such site have been clearing brush, digging, pushing around soil and generally preparing the land for the development of five single family homes.

As reported last week in the Gazette, residents of three homes directly above are concerned how close the digging is coming to the base of the wall and whether the integrity of the structure is being compromised.

Sounds to us like a valid safety issue. While it seemed as of last week that a distinct lack of communication existed between the developer and neighbours, we were somewhat surprised when the City of Langford stated that such situations are a private property matter.

If that is the case, then whose responsibility is it to ensure that steps are taken to prevent a potential disaster? In general, the onus falls upon property owners above the retaining wall, since the developers who constructed it and their homes are long gone.

But what happens if a developer looking to build on the low side of the wall picks away at the earth around it and damages the integrity of the hillside? It seems a bit like poking a hornet’s nest then blaming the hornets after getting stung.

At least one homeowner has consulted their insurance provider to get more information on who would be at fault in the event of a failure of the wall and collapsing of the hillside.

This scenario seems a great opportunity for the City to show leadership and work with the developer in advance to help ensure the safety of its residents and prevent something devastating from happening.

Just Posted

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Police rule out foul play in death of man found in Saanich

The B.C. Coroners Service will now conduct an investigation

West Shore RCMP snag suspected thief with bait bike

GPS-equipped bike leads police to arrest suspect in Langford

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read