A condemned Sunshine Coast community that was meant to be a paradise continues to be a nightmare for the former residents being barred from returning.
The latest heartbreak is the return of vandals to homes in the Seawatch development of Sechelt, whose owners can only watch from afar.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Chris Moradian said from the Burnaby home where he and his wife have been staying since the evacuation last year. “It’s our life savings that are being destroyed, and people are allowed to do this.”
At least two homes have had rocks thrown through the windows and graffiti sprayed on the walls, which was discovered Friday.
Pictures supplied by the owners show shattered glass strewn across the floors of rooms that look out onto the ocean, where the Moradians and other families planned to spend their retirements.
“We’re just wondering, what’s the next thing that’s going to happen?” homeowner Ed Pednaud said. “We sit on pins and needles just waiting for the next thing.”
The District of Sechelt issued a local state of emergency and evacuation order for the oceanside development last February over persistent and dangerous sinkholes, which began opening up the previous fall.
Homeowners were forced to pack up what they could and leave the once-valuable properties, which remain behind barricades to this day.
The homes were already targeted by vandals back in September, with thieves breaking in and sometimes squatting inside while vandalizing at least five properties.
No suspects were caught or connected to those incidents, but RCMP said they were taking security at the subdivision seriously.
But Moradian says those promises haven’t been followed up on.
“We were given assurances from the district, the mayor that they would monitor the area and prevent this from happening,” he said.
“They told us they’d be providing security, making sure people didn’t enter, but people are just using the area like a park.”
Pednaud said the district and RCMP also promised drones, but he “hasn’t seen a drone yet.”
“RCMP aren’t even allowed onsite unless there’s a risk to life,” he said.
RCMP say they are aware of the latest break-ins and are investigating.
Questions about security in the area have been forwarded to the District of Sechelt, which has declined to comment citing pending legal action.
Nearly all the homeowners have named the district, the province, the contractor and others in separate civil suits.
The vandalism comes just weeks after the properties, which were once worth over $1 million, were assessed at just $2 — one each for the land and the home.
The ongoing state of emergency, meanwhile, continued to be renewed after weekly assessments, with no word on when it might finally be lifted.
As the lawsuits wind their way through the courts, the homeowners say all they can do is continue to watch and worry.
“We can’t even get someone inside to replace the windows,” Moradian said.
“It feels like being thrown on the ground and kicked all the time, and no one cares.”
With files from Jill Bennett