PENTICTON - The problem with drainage issues between three businesses in Penticton’s industrial park started in 2013 and now injunctive action has been taken by the city on two of the properties, as announced at the Monday, March 16 council meeting.
City staff began a file on the issue in October of 2013 after problems arose with uncontrolled surface water entering a storage unit facility located at 2360 Government Street.
One of the properties involved had drainage issues that were resolved. Ongoing problems with drainage persisted with 2365 Barnes Street (Action Steel) and a site investigation revealed a retaining wall located along the east property line of 2360 Government Street (Penticton Self-Storage) did not have a permit and was failing.
Further research of city records showed a litany of drainage, fill and retaining issues dating back to the late 1990s.
In September last year, the retaining wall failed while under repair. In December 2014 the city was provided with revised drawings to correct the wall and both property owners were notified by the city to request a joint solution to drainage and retaining wall failure issues. A number of site discussions, phone conversations and letters between the city, Action Steel and Penticton Self-Storage failed to find a solution to the issues.
Because several layers of fill had been deposited on one side of the retaining wall over a period of years, it was difficult to determine the original grade of the site. The owner of Penticton Self-Storage argued the original wall was constructed as a fence and was never meant to act as a retaining wall. The owner’s solution was to remove the existing wall and replace it with a much lower one that would likely cause the high lot on Action Steel’s side to collapse along the property line.
Action Steel, however remained adamant the wall was always used as a retaining wall. They also had concerns about the wall being continuous along the entire length of the property.
With no end to the dispute in sight and after consultation with legal counsel raised safety issues, warnings of possible injunctions were sent to both property owners in January of this year. City staff were advised to move forward with a notice on title for both properties in late February.
A notice on title regarding failure to control surface water which has created a potentially unsafe condition with further injunctive action to commence within 30 days if repair to the retaining wall is not commenced was issued to 2365 Barnes Street, and subsequently moved and carried by council on Monday.
A second notice on title regarding failure to complete a building permit which has created an unsafe condition, including further injunctive action if construction to repair the retaining wall is not commenced was also issued to 2360 Government Street, and subsequently moved and carried by council. Both motions were unanimous.
In reply to a question from council, staff said if no work was done to repair the retaining wall within an allotted period of time, the city would perform the repairs and bill the work back to both properties.
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