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Eva Lake owners to spend $1.2 million to fix sinking buildings

Legal mediation fails but negotiations still ongoing; some owners will be forced to sell



After a failed mediation meeting in mid-June, the owners of two sinking apartment buildings at Eva Lake Village are set to begin repairs on their buildings before the coming winter.

It will cost approximately $1.2 million to lift two multiple-unit apartment buildings, put a latticework of steel underneath them and then place the buildings down again. And the owners will have to foot the entire bill despite the ongoing legal action against the builder, the municipality, two engineering companies and a structural engineer.

Those defendants and the representatives of the owners met for an all-day meeting on June 17 in Vancouver where the representatives of the owners rejected an offer from the defendants.

"At the time of the mediation an offer was put forward, which is the normal course of events," said Barry Burko, owner of Summit Strata Management, the company representing the owners. "It was a low offer."

"The two parties were too far apart to come to any resolution on that day," added Burko.

Lawyers for the municipality did not return phone calls as of press time on Wednesday.

The condo owners are now scheduling a special general meeting on Monday, July 11 where they will talk about what happened at the mediation.

In the meantime they are hiring a construction manager and new engineers are drafting up the specifications for repairs. They aim to begin the work within a month and a half.

Burko explained the owners were stuck between a rock and a hard place when faced with the decision to begin repairs now or wait for the legal fallout.

Fearing their engineers would advise the municipality that the buildings would not last another winter, which could trigger an investigation and see the RMOW label the buildings as uninhabitable, the owners decided to push forward with repairs despite the cost. They also had to hire a contractor sooner rather than later so the company could schedule the work on the sinking buildings.

"So the owners are faced with this decision, if they don’t go ahead and fix the buildings now they may end up having no buildings to live in come the fall," said Burko. "That was the rock. The hard place is that the contractors need to know whether or not they’re going to schedule work in for Eva Lake."

And so the $1.2 million cost to repair two buildings must be split between 36 Eva Lake owners. That includes owners who don’t own a unit in one of the sinking buildings but are part of the four-building strata corporation.

Each unit comes with different costs, depending on size among other things. Some owners could be paying as much as $50,000, which may just be too much for some owners to bear.

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