Section 57: what does it mean?

Dawson Creek City Council agreed at Monday’s council meeting to place a Section 57 notice against land title on 1532 Loran Drive.

City documents say that four building foundations were built at 1532 Loran Drive without a permit in 2014. The Section 57 notice alerts potential purchasers that work has proceeded without a permit.

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“Section 57 is to protect a future purchaser of this property,” says CAO Duncan Redfearn. “It can be removed, if at any point, they become compliant.”

The City notes the property known as “Sundance Canyon” was issued a development permit in 2013. The proposed development included eight four-plexes. Four of them — units 500, 600, 700, 800 — were issued building permits and built to completion.

However, units 100 to 400 did not receive a building permit, yet foundations were built.

In September, council had received the building inspector’s report, and looked to hear from the property owner.

In a letter to council, Sundance Canyon Homes, based in Vancouver, noted that they were previously unaware the foundations had been built without a permit.

They noted that Phase I of the buildings (units 500 to 800) were built right as a downturn in the oil and gas market occured, which “resulted in the units being unmarketable at a reasonable price, and the need for Sundance to rent out the existing units. It also made continuing with Phase II [units 100 to 400] uneconomical, resulting in the need to secure the Phase II foundations until the market once again becomes attractive for housing development.”

The letter — signed by owners Ric Pow and Mike Geist — says they have worked with the City to ensure the site is safe — the discovery of the situation came about due to a bylaw complaint due to a safety concern — and asks the City not to place a Section 57 notice on the property.

Council, however, decided to proceed with placing a Section 57 notice.

“There has to be some formal filing on this to protect future purchasers, and there has to be some consequences,” says Councillor Charlie Parslow.

Staff note that a path to compliance recommended by the Building Department once a Section 57 note against land title is placed on the property include either removing the foundation, or hiring a third party engineer and essentially go through the building permit for the four foundations.

Councillor Blair Lekstrom raised concerns about the costs to the taxpayers, and amended the motion to have staff look at recovering the costs from investigating the file.

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