Sommerville Springs Demolition Update

Posted On Friday November 29, 2019

Last October, the Town issued an Order against JJM Holdings Ltd. relating to the Sommerville Springs development. The Order, pursuant to the Safety Codes Act and the Alberta Building Code 2014, indicated the development was unsafe and required the demolition of all structures by November 30, 2018. The landowner appealed the Order to the Safety Codes Council. In August 2019, an Administrative Tribunal of the Building Sub-Council was held to hear the appeal. The Order was confirmed by the Safety Codes Council on October 11, 2019. The landowner then submitted a request for judicial review and appeal of stay to the Court of Queen’s Bench, which is now underway.

Prior to the Town’s issuing of the Order, significant safety issues had been observed and reported. In a public meeting in September 2017, Administration confirmed there were no current Safety Codes permits issued for any construction of onsite structures. In April of the following year, the Town’s inspectors reported significant concerns regarding quality of construction completed to date. Only a few months later, 16 townhouses were destroyed and 14 damaged in a large structure fire that was contained by the Stony Plain Fire Department.

In July of 2018, a Sommerville Springs Demolition Report was presented to Council. Snihur Engineering Ltd., Forensic & Structural Engineers were hired to assess the development. The report confirmed inadequate foundations and significant construction deficiencies, structural design flaws, distress and deterioration of the foundations and structures as well as critical life safety issues.

“This has been an ongoing concern. We know this development is unsafe, and we have worked for several years with inspectors and engineering firms to address safety of this development,” says Town Manager, Tom Goulden.  “Demolition of the site would include the removal of all 40 buildings, piles, and refuse, and backfilling of open excavations.”  Goulden continues, “Although we must respect the landowner’s legal rights, the timing and process is exceedingly frustrating to me.  We will review our legal options and take the course of action that best protects our community.

Timing for the demolition is uncertain until further information is determined through the judicial review process.