Maxed out 

The feeling is mutual

By G.D. Maxwell

I feel your pain. No, really; I feel your pain. Your concerns are my concerns. When you succeed, I succeed. When you fail… well, we have to draw the line somewhere, don’t we?

I feel the pain of Mike Roger and the other Eva Lake Village people whose homes are disappearing into a sinkhole of indifference, blame shifting and insurance stonewalling. They’re the victims, the buyers in good faith without notice. They didn’t have any reason to suspect their little slice of heaven was built on a solid foundation of pudding or that split-level would be taking on a whole new meaning as the second floor of their condos became ground floor.

But let’s be generous for a moment. Let’s suppose everyone, the developer, engineers, geotechnical guys – if there were geotechnical guys way back then – planners and inspectors were doing their jobs when the place was built. Let’s pause for a moment, look wistfully into space and suppose we’ll all win the lottery while we’re at it. Okay, back to the problem. Let’s suppose the fires of Hell weakened the bedrock upon which Eva Lake Village was built and turned it into pudding. Force majeure, act of God, unforeseeable circumstance, bad luck.

What’s a caring community do? What’s a community dedicating oodles of talk, time and, well talk and time anyway, to affordable housing do when its affordable housing threatens to disappear into a hole in the ground? It could: (a) shrug its collective shoulders and say, "Tough noogies, dude. Looks like you have a problem." (b) Hide behind its dogslime insurance company who, like all insurance companies, lives to stonewall claims as long as possible. (c) Feel the pain and help find a solution for people who have contributed personal capital to providing Whistler’s social infrastructure.

As a possible future Whistler Housing Authority homeowner, the Muni’s callous (in)actions give me pause for concern. Suppose I wind up with a post-Olympic legacy home down in Cheakamus. Mike Vance said geotechnical studies, hazard assessments, environmental screening and a contamination site study are being done there. Presumably, Muni inspectors will sign off on the final product. If my p-Ol home starts sinking into a subterranean pit of old Huggies, will I be getting the big silence from the people who maybe didn’t do their job as well as they should have? I feel the pain.

If the cost to fix this problem is around $1.2 million, heck, that’s only five Jim Units, assuming our former administrator’s retirement package is really only a quarter mil a year. Given the perfect screwin’ this town seems to be getting from VANOC, I’m wondering whether all five Jim Units might not have been better spent in Eva Lake Village.

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