Two Langley homeowners are scrambling to fix their collapsing backyards, after a March landslide revealed unstable soil in the 7900 block of 227 Crescent that runs along the Salmon River.
Neighbours Eric Nicholl and Roger Eggert came to Township council in early July to appeal for permission to bypass the usual approval process to shore up the site of the collapse with 8,000 cubic metres, or about 700 truck loads of fill, during the dry summer months.
“We could potentially lose our homes,” Nicholl said.
“The backyards to both our houses are causing actual danger,” said Eggert.
Following heavy rain in March, portions of the two backyards dropped three to 4.5 metres. The shift came within eight to 10 metres of the two houses.
Other houses in the area were not affected.
Tests by a geotechnical engineer show up to four metres of fill was used to level the backyards overlooking the river, around the time the two houses were built in 1973.
A report filed by the engineer describes the fill as an “unstable” mix of “firm to soft silt” under a one-third metre thick layer of topsoil.
The soil is continuing to collapse, the report warns, and goes on to describe the situation as an “emergency” that could cause damage to both houses and contaminate the river.
Earlier this year, council revised its soil deposit and removal policy to require approval by at least 80 per cent of local residents for large amounts of fill.
The new process takes a minimum of six weeks which means the homeowners would lose their “window” for re-doing the fill during the dry season and would likely lead to more slides during the wet winter months, the engineer predicted.
On hearing that, council unanimously approved allowing the homeowners to skip the notification process, with the understanding they will inform their neighbours about the project by distributing a written notice.