A retaining wall collapse at a construction site in Langley, B.C. was caused by poor weather conditions, a city spokesperson said.
The wall collapsed on Christmas Day at a site operated by Trillium Projects at 20230 56th Ave., causing a power outage at a neighbouring apartment building.
“This was a weather-related issue – caused by rapid melt and water accumulation in the shoring wall slump area,” Samantha Paulson, communications officer for the City of Langley, told the Journal of Commerce.
Paulson said staff have been on the site multiple times since the initial Christmas Day collapse.
“Private property developers are responsible for safe construction according to the BC Building Code and WorkSafe requirements and employ registered professionals to ensure safe construction designs and techniques are used,” Paulson said.
“In this case, the city will continue to monitor and inspect the site and repair work and communicate with the developer as they work to repair the shoring wall and complete their project.”
Trillium partner Katherine Hamilton provided an update on what occurred.
“There was movement in a portion of the west shoring wall of the excavated area. No one was on the construction site at the time and no one was injured,” Hamilton said.
“The movement of the shoring wall caused tension cracks in the adjacent neighbouring property which resulted in a temporary loss of power to the Michaud Gardens building. Our highest priority is to make sure everything is safely restored as quickly as possible.”
But the Christmas Day incident caused angst for some residents of Michaud Gardens culminating in a visit to the Gardens from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after a resident allegedly started throwing dishware onto the construction site.
“On Friday, Dec. 30, we responded to reports from inside the building of someone throwing kitchen items off their balcony,” BC RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau said in an email.
“When officers arrived they located a distraught individual who had allegedly been throwing objects from their apartment while construction continued.”
But the RCMP do not believe the resident was trying to harm anyone.
“Despite appearances, police believe the contractors were not necessarily deliberately targeted. Officers deescalated the situation. Although uninjured, the individual was taken to a local area hospital for any medical treatment.”
According to BC Hydro, power was restored to the property on Dec. 28.
“Work to restabilize the shoring wall is currently ongoing with restoration work to follow,” said Hamilton.
WorkSafeBC inspected the site on Dec. 28 and confirmed no one was on site or injured in the collapse.
“Currently, the employer has engaged with an engineering firm to evaluate the partial wall collapse and developed safe work procedures for inspection, remediation and shoring of the collapsed areas,” spokesperson Yesenia Dhott said.
“Additionally, the engineering firm will also evaluate the cause of the partial wall collapse. That evaluation will be included in the Employer Incident Investigation Report that needs to be submitted to WorkSafeBC within 30 days of the incident.”
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