Deep Cove homeowners fined for contempt of court

Two Deep Cove homeowners have been fined for violating court orders to fix illegal changes they made to a stream running through their property.

In April 2017, the District of North Vancouver filed a petition in court alleging Charles and Constance Lee Band installed a concrete channel to direct a portion of Cleopatra Creek on their property at 2755 Panorama Dr. The Bands also added a culvert and buried a portion of it, built temporary structures over the channel, cut into an “oversteepened bank” and removed boulders and gravel from the creek, all without permits and parts of it in violation of a stop-work order, the petition stated.

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All of the work, the district argued, was putting neighbours at risk of flooding or landslides if the creek were to be blocked by debris.

In August that year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered the Bands to halt the work, as well as split the cost of an engineering study with the district and pay to have the engineer’s remediation recommendations implemented within 12 months, to which the Bands consented.

In October 2019, though, they were found in contempt of court for failing to live up to the agreement. They had yet to pay for their $4,000 share of the engineering report or do any of the recommended work. Additionally, they removed another boulder and tree from the creek without a permit, the court heard.

Because so much time had lapsed, the district said a new engineering report would be required, which the Bands would have to pay another $4,000 for, as well as the cost of its implementation.

During his Nov. 21 sentencing in Vancouver for contempt of court, Charles Band reiterated several times that he disagreed with the original engineering report and wanted to hire an engineer of his choosing. He claimed the district hadn’t treated him fairly and accused the municipality of corruption. He also blamed neighbours for the situation, claiming they had lied and were getting away with the same things he’d been accused of.

But Justice Elizabeth McDonald stressed, despite Band’s disagreements, the court’s orders were not to be ignored.

“That’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to talk about what’s happened on your property and what can be done in order to ensure you comply with the court’s orders that are already in place and that this situation doesn’t worsen,” she said. “This is a very serious matter and it will get more serious if there is further failure to comply with the court’s orders.”

Band said, as a pensioner who had just finished two years of home renovations, money was tight, but he did tell the judge he was prepared to write a cheque to cover his half of the first engineering report.

For the contempt of court, the Bands have been ordered to pay an additional $2,500 fine to the province, as well as “special costs” to cover the district’s legal expenses.

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