The original retaining walls were made out of metal stakes and boulders. (Urban Options)

The original retaining walls were made out of metal stakes and boulders. (Urban Options)

Peachland council denies permit for already-built retaining wall

Wall was built before moving through development permit application process

A Peachland property owner will have to figure out what to do with a retaining wall he built without district permission.

Anthony Paterson started to build a retaining wall on a Robinson Place property in 2019 before moving through the necessary municipal procedures. The district issued two stop-work orders on the site before Paterson opted to file an application for a development permit in July 2020. The district deemed the application inadequate, requiring Paterson to file additional materials twice before it was finally circulated to staff in February 2021.

During an April 6 meeting, council denied that application.

Peachland’s director of planning and development services Darin Schaal said the property sits on two development permit areas: hillside and environmentally sensitive. With two different permit areas like this, Peachland bylaws require that the property owner should either apply for an exemption development permit or a specific permit that will help establish safety measures for the project.

Schaal said either of those requirements has to be satisfied before any construction can begin but Paterson didn’t apply for either until after construction on the wall started in 2019.

Besides not having building permits, the retaining wall is in contravention with a few district building guidelines, including being made out of a different type of rock material instead of being subtle and being well-integrated into the surrounding terrain, as well as being in contravention of height guidelines, standing at 4.75 metres instead of the required 1.5 to three metres.

Paterson and a consultant made a presentation to council, giving the district an option to wait two years and have geotechnical engineers observe the current walls and sign off on its safety after the two years.

Councillor Pam Cunningham said she didn’t understand why Paterson didn’t follow the proper steps to begin with instead of now going backwards with the procedure.

“I’m just really confused as to how this went ahead without permitting… but there’s proper protocol and procedures when you do things, especially when it involves the environment,” she said.

“I just don’t understand why that would be ok in their minds, why they didn’t just go ahead from the very beginning to do it the right way.”

Council directed Paterson to submit new development and building applications by May 31 to rebuild the retaining wall.

READ: Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’


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