Coquitlam construction collapse raises concerns

Questions remain after a shoring wall at a Coquitlam construction site collapsed on Wednesday. Monika Gul hears from a group with concerns about safety after the developer released a statement saying it had all the proper permits in place.

Questions remain after a shoring wall at a Coquitlam construction site suddenly collapsed late Wednesday afternoon.

The collapse happened at a construction site at Foster Avenue and North Road.

Karen Somerville, president of Canadians for Properly Built Homes, says this incident, and similar ones like it elsewhere in Canada this year, have her group concerned.

“It is concerning to see this happen during construction and we wonder what would happen if it had been constructed and been occupied, what would happen then if something went wrong?” she said. “We’ve been talking to a number of people who feel that with this move to accelerate construction, that perhaps some corners will be cut, maybe some inspections won’t be done properly and we’re really advocating to all levels of government to make sure that that doesn’t happen.”

“It’s shocking. I’ve seen the video, it’s very concerning.”

Amacon, the developer, told CityNews in a statement on Friday that “a section of the shoring retention wall … failed, resulting in soil collapsing into the excavated site and a cavity in the soil in the area adjacent to the property.”

“All work on site had attained the required permits, and thoroughly vetted and monitored by the geotechnical and engineering consultants.”

The developer says it is investigating the cause of the failure, and adds that no one was hurt.

On Thursday, the city said the developer’s geotechnical engineers are supervising the re-stabilization of the wall. On Friday, workers were dumping soil into the site near a gaping hole left by the collapse.

WorkSafeBC says it is aware of the incident and monitoring the site. Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, which regulates and governs those professions, says it’s also gathering information, adding that it is too early to speculate on potential regulatory actions or any involvement that may be required.

Foster Avenue remains closed to traffic in the area for safety as of Friday, according to the city — which says repair work is expected to last a few days.

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