The repair of a sinkhole that formed in Three Sisters over three years ago won’t happen this year, according to Town staff.
General manager of municipal infrastructure Gary Buxton told council at its committee of the whole meeting that quotes received for a geotechnical investigation were too high to move forward with this year on the project.
The provincial government gave Canmore a $600,000 grant to repair the 7.5 metre diameter sinkhole along Dyrgas Gate at the end of 2012, but Buxton said the estimate was in excess of a quarter of that amount.
“It didn’t seem prudent to spend a quarter of the funds simply to figure out what sort of problem we had, we didn’t think that was the best way to move forward,” he said. “What we are planning is to release the information that we have on the extent of the hole and the extent of the collapse and the reasons behind it to contractors that are capable of effecting the repairs.
“They would propose the design and build it and we would likely engage some specialists in the area to vet the solution… and then proceed.”
The sinkhole opened up along a pathway on municipally owned land in May 2010. It is believed to have been caused by collapsing of an airshaft to Seam No. 4 of the No. 4 mine, which was closed in the 1940s.
Following its formation, the municipality requested the province pay for repair as per an indemnity agreement. However, a letter from municipal affairs said the provincial government was regulated to claims by third parties only, i.e. private land owners, not other levels of government. Since there was no third party involved in the loss associated with the sinkhole, the Town of Canmore was left to fix it until the province offered up the $600,000.
The scenario also raised real concern from the perspective of the municipality, as future undermining issues could happen in the subdivision, which was underwritten by the province in the ‘90s.
“Future development approvals on undermined areas within the Three Sisters lands will create substantial liability and risk for the Town if indemnity is limited only to third party claims against the Town and does not cover direct municipal losses,” stated a report to council on the issue earlier this year.
Administration continues to work on the issue with the province according to Buxton.