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Coldstream couple who removed 'stop work order' being sued over pool

The illegally built pool to the right of Lloyd and Catherine Brown's Lavington home.
The illegally built pool to the right of Lloyd and Catherine Brown's Lavington home.

A Lavington couple who built a pool and deck without a permit, and then removed a posted stop work order, is being sued by the District of Coldstream.

A notice of claim filed Feb. 1 by the District of Coldstream in the B.C. Supreme Court requests an order that Lavington residents Lloyd and Catherine Brown either acquire a permit for the pool and deck they've already had built or the District of Coldstream will come and tear it down.

The court documents say Lloyd and Catherine Brown have lived at their Highway 6 property for more than 30 years and built an above-ground pool and deck without obtaining a permit from the municipality.

The notice of claim says a building inspector went to the property in June 2021 and noticed the above-ground pool with a deck under construction. As the Browns didn't have a permit the building inspector pinned a "stop work order" to the deck.

"The building inspector communicated several concerns to... Lloyd Franklin Brown and to the contractor on site, including the concern that the foundations of the deck had been completed and covered, and could no longer be properly inspected," the notice of claim reads.

Weeks later in early July, bylaws officers visited the property and found the posted "stop work order" had been removed and construction work was continuing on the deck.

Bylaw officers stopped by twice in the days following and each time issued Catherine Brown bylaw offence notices.

The court documents say a week later the Browns submitted an incomplete building permit application.

The notice of claim says the District needs information from a geotechnical engineer and drawings of the pool with an engineer’s seal.

The court document says over the following months, District staff communicated with Catherine Brown multiple times about what was needed to bring the pool and the deck into compliance with the bylaws.

In November 2021, Coldstream gave the Browns 45 days to produce a complete building permit application.

It appears the Browns failed to do so.

In February 2022, Coldstream council voted to register a notice on the title of the property. The Browns didn't attend the meeting.

"The District has clearly and repeatedly communicated to the respondents the requirements of the Building Bylaw as they pertain to the Pool and the Deck," the court documents say. "The (Browns) have been causing or permitting the pool and the deck to be used, without having obtained a building permit or having passed any inspection by District Building Officials."

Coldstream is now asking the court to order the Browns to submit a complete building permit application within 90 days.

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"Include a report from a registered professional who is qualified in the area of geotechnical engineering, certifying the foundations of the deck substantially comply with the British Columbia Building Code and other applicable enactments respecting safety," the court documents read. "Include pool drawings bearing either the stock engineer seal or confirmation of Canadian Standard Association or Underwriters Laboratories Canada approval for the pool."

Once the Browns get a permit they will have two years to pass a final building inspection.

The District of Coldstream says if the Browns fail to get a permit it will send a contractor in to "remove and dispose" of the pool and the deck and then send the Browns the bill.

It's unclear why the Browns didn't get a permit in the first place. The pool is clearly visible from the road and a building permit for construction valued between $5,000 and $250,000 costs $100, although the application would need professional drawings to go with it.

When visited the property a woman who said she wasn't Catherine Brown, although wouldn't identify herself, aggressively told us to leave.

"I'm not giving you anything, it's none of your business," she said.

She refused to pass a message on to the Brown's and said she didn't "recommend" we wrote a story about this.

District of Coldstream chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel said as it was before the courts the District had no comment on the matter.

It's unknown how much a professionally stamped building permit application would have cost Lloyd and Catherine Brown, but they may find out it was significantly cheaper than the lawyer's bills generated by the District's court action.

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None of the allegations have been proven in court.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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