The developer of a condo project in Coquitlam where a shoring wall collapsed on Wednesday will be required to hire a third-party geotechnical engineer to supervise its repair.
“While this is not standard practice, city officials felt it was important to ensure there is additional oversight and trust for the protection of city infrastructure as well as the surrounding neighourhood,” said the city’s building permits manager, Doug Vance, in a statement released late Friday.
The shoring wall’s failure sent a cascade of dirt and rocks into the deep excavation for a new condo tower being built at 500 Foster Ave. by Amacon Construction Ltd. Nobody was injured, but the scene was captured on video and posted to social media Thursday afternoon, alarming nearby residents.
“The priority of the developers who work in our backyards should be to protect citizen safety,” said Suzana Kovacic in an email to the Tri-City News. “It wasn’t just a wall that collapsed — the integrity of developers and city has also collapsed.”
Vance said the city relies on developers to take the lead on issues related to their construction sites. He added since the shoring wall is just a temporary structure it isn’t covered by the BC Building Code.
“This is within the mandate of the site’s geotechnical engineers who have their own professional standards and codes of ethics to ensure safety in these situations.”
WorkSafeBC confirmed its officers attended the site after it was alerted about the failure.
Other residents took umbrage with the city’s delay in releasing information about the wall’s collapse. The incident happened early Wednesday evening but didn’t come to light until almost a full day later when the video appeared on social media and was picked up by multiple media outlets, including the Tri-City News.
“So this is why they were drilling until 2 a.m. last night,” said one poster on Reddit.
Another poster of Facebook said he would be complaining to city hall about the construction trucks and noise outside his nearby condo at 1 a.m. Thursday morning.
The city released its first statement late Thursday afternoon. It included an advisory about the indefinite closure of Foster Avenue as well as an alert of overnight construction noise and disruptions while the repairs are made.
Kathleen Vincent, Coquitlam’s communications manager, said the city released information once it had a full picture of the situation and its impact on the road and development site.
She said the city has also created a special dedicated website with ongoing updates about the site's repairs, including contacts where people can direct inquiries for more information.
Vance said Foster Avenue will remain closed between North Road and Whiting Way and the overnight construction will continue until the repairs are completed. As well, bus route 157 has been temporarily rerouted via Robinson Street and Smith Avenue.
“Coquitlam joins Amacon Construction Ltd. in apologizing to neighbours for these inconveniences and appreciate the ongoing patience as we work together to resolve this,” Vance added.