Mike Combs brought this photo to Township council Monday night to show the extent of the collapse that is threatening his home.

Collapse threatens Langley home

Property owner expresses frustration at bureaucratic delays after winning approval for emergency landfill

A week after Langley Township council approved an emergency landfill to fix a collapsing slope that threatens his home, Mike Combs was still waiting to begin work.

Combs said the work was being delayed because he was still waiting for the Agricultural Land Commission to make a decision on the fill-in and Township staff are insisting he can’t proceed without ALC clearance.

The property in the 25000 block of 64 Avenue is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

As well, Combs is being required to post a $10,000 bond and another $5,000 “volume surcharge fee” before he calls the trucks in.

Meanwhile, the bank near his home is continuing to crumble, Combs told The Times.

“I’ve got an engineer who tells me my house has a possibility of falling into the ravine,” he said.

“My insurance company said if your house falls in the ravine, hey, you’re not covered.”

Combs lives near the 248 Street overpass project, and he said the pounding from the demolition of the old bridge across the freeway and the construction of a replacement isn’t helping the situation.

“In the middle of the night, right now, you can feel it shaking,” Combs said when he appeared before the afternoon meeting of council on Monday, Sept. 9.

“It’s getting worse and worse.”

He went with geotechnical engineer Patrick Chiu, who has rated the stability of the soil as “unacceptable”

Chiu estimated 10,000 cubic metres of fill, about 1,400 single truck loads, would be needed to stabilize the property by creating a supporting “wedge.”

Chiu and Combs told council the soil is collapsing into a deep pit, apparently dug back in the 1960s, long before Combs bought the property.

He purchased it six years ago.

Combs thinks the pit was dug to provide gravel for construction of the nearby freeway.

He eventually wants to fill in the pit to bring it level with the rest if the property, something that would require another 60,000 cubic metres of soil or about 85,000 truck loads.

Council approved the “wedge” proposal and agreed to waive the requirement for a notification and petition process that requires approval from 80 per cent of neighbouring property owners and would have delayed the start of work by about six weeks.

The application to completely fill in the pit will proceed the usual way.

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