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Seawatch Covenant Release Ruled Unenforceable

Seawatch Covenant Release Ruled Unenforceable

On August 24, BC Supreme Court Justice Macintosh released his decision on the applications by eight Seawatch subdivision property owners against the District of Sechelt and others made in late July. Also named in the actions were former Sechelt Approving Officer Ray Parfitt, the Province, Concordia Seawatch and its principals, local realtors and engineering firms that provided services related to the development. The owners are seeking compensation for the loss of the use of their residential properties after Sechelt declared them unsafe to occupy due to ground instability issues.

The Court ruled that the release contained in the Section 219 Covenant that Sechelt registered against the properties does not bar or affect the owners claims against it. It held that the release was unenforceable against the property owners.

The Court dismissed the claims against Ray Parfitt, a former Sechelt Approving Officer, for negligence in approving the subdivision in 2006. It ruled that an Approving Officer does not owe a private law duty of care to potential future purchasers in a development even if the approval of the subdivision was negligently made. The Court also held that an officer or employee of the District is entitled to statutory immunity for any errors that may have been made under the provisions of section 738(2) of the Local Government Act.

According to Jeff Scouten, legal counsel for the property owners, they are considering an appeal of the decision striking out the claims made against the Approving Officer. Sechelt does not provide comment on issues before the Court. It is unknown whether it has any intention of appealing the decision made. The time-limit for either side to appeal is thirty days from the date of the decision.

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