Injunctive Action Taken Against Canadian Self-Storage Operator for Drainage Issues

Update 4/17/15 – Penticton officials have given Action Steel Sales Ltd. and Penticton Self Storage Ltd. a two-week extension to fix the drainage issues and a damaged retaining wall between their properties before the city takes legal action, according to the source.

Update 4/17/15 – Penticton officials have given Action Steel Sales Ltd. and Penticton Self Storage Ltd. a two-week extension to fix the drainage issues and a damaged retaining wall between their properties before the city takes legal action, according to the source.

Although no progress has been made in regard to repairs, the council granted the extension to Mike Nixon, owner of Action Steel, and Dennis Meakin, owner of Wine Country Self Storage Ltd., which owns the Penticton Self Storage property, after the two men agreed to meet to resolve the issues, the source reported.

Nixon told the Penticton City Council he questioned the engineering of the retaining wall and said it’s actually comprised of two walls, neither of which is on his property. A partial collapse of the retaining wall that occurred during repair work in September 2014, as well as improper backfill on the structure, weren’t Action Steel’s responsibility, he argued.

Meakin told the council the wall was already constructed when he purchased the property 10 years ago and said none of the issues regarding lack of permitting or engineering of the wall surfaced when he researched the property before acquiring it. The wall was constructed as a “concrete fence” and never intended to act as a retaining wall, he said. The self-storage owner also argued the wall wasn’t designed to have backfill piled against it and should have been built on a natural grade, according to the source.

“We’ve attempted to reach a settlement with Action Steel for responsibility for replacing the fence with a proper wall, but have not been successful,” Meakin told the council. “Action Steel has taken the position I am totally responsible for replacement of the 6-foot retaining wall to support their fill, drainage and engineering of its fill. I don’t agree with that. To my knowledge, I do not have a legal obligation to provide support to the adjoining property owner above natural grade."

Meakin asked the council to remove the fill so that he could rebuild a proper retaining wall on natural grade, the source reported. The fill would have to be removed prior to reconstructing the wall, he said.


3/19/15 – City officials in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, have issued injunctions against Action Steel Sales Ltd. and Penticton Self Storage to fix drainage issues and a damaged retaining wall between their adjoining properties. The injunctive action was taken after the businesses failed to come up with a joint resolution for the property issues, according to the source.

Drainage, fill and retention issues have been present at the properties since the late 1990s, but problems escalated in October 2013 when uncontrolled surface water entered a storage unit, the source reported. The self-storage property is at 2360 Government St., and the steel distributor is at 2365 Barnes St.

A site investigation revealed the retaining wall along the east property line of the storage facility didn’t have a permit and was failing. The wall stopped working during repairs last September, and the city notified both property owners to request a joint solution to the issues, according to the source.

The self-storage business has argued that the original wall was constructed as a fence not intended to serve as a retaining wall. The owner proposed to remove the existing wall and replace it with a lower one, which could cause the higher lot on the Action Steel side to collapse along the property line, the source reported.

Action Steel maintains the wall was always a retaining wall and has expressed concerns about it running the length of the property line.

Without a resolution to fix the problems and safety concerns raised by the city’s legal counsel, officials warned both businesses about possible injunctions in January. City staff began preparing notices on the titles of both properties late last month, according to the source. A “notice on title” is an enforcement tool used by local governments in British Columbia that appears in public title searches and indicates that a property may be in breach of local government bylaws or regulations.

The notice on the Action Steel property indicates unsafe conditions due to failure to control surface water. The notice on the Penticton Self Storage property indicates unsafe conditions due to failure to complete a building permit. City officials voted unanimously to take further injunctive action in 30 days if work to repair the retaining wall has not begun, the source reported.

If no work has been done to repair the wall within the specified time period, the city would then perform the necessary repairs and bill both businesses, according to the source.

Sources:

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