Update: 4 pm
It looks like a dispute over use of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics building will be able to be settled.
The Regional District of North Okanagan says it’s lifted a Do Not Occupy Order for the club’s main building.
Administrator David Sewell says they are satisfied progress is being made with owner Camille Martens on health and safety concerns, and to eventually meeting the requirements of the BC Building Code.
He says the owner has agreed to close the mezzanine area, and to continue a no occupy order on a second accessory facility.
11 am story:
The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club has sent new information to the Regional District of North Okanagan, hoping to get a ban on its facility lifted.
RDNO issued a Do Not Occupy order on the club’s gym and dance studio on East Vernon Road Friday after not getting an engineer’s report about building code requirements tied to a zoning change in January.
Photo: Camille Martens
RDNO administrator David Sewell says they’ve now received a engineer’s statement which includes some of the requirements, and they will review it.
“It identifies some actions on the behalf of the Martens, of what they can do to address some of the safety concerns, and also identifies that some of safety concerns that were in the original engineers letter have been addressed,” Sewell tells Kiss FM.
Sewell says not all of RDNO’s requirements are included.
“It’s a portion of it. This is not an engineer’s report that indicates it meets the BC Building Code or its equivalent, but it does provide commentary on health and safety issues, which are only portions of the requirements of the building code, but obviously from the RDNO’s perspective, they are some of the most important elements,” adds Sewell.
As for concerns of how the order was issued — serving it to the teenage daughter of owner Camille Martens on a Friday afternoon – – Sewell says it was a legal notice.
“I’m not sure there is any preferred method of receiving that, but rather than interrupting a class in session, we felt it was appropriate to have as non-intrusive of a method in issuing that notice,” says Sewell.
Martens says she is out of money, overwhelmed and totally relying on the help of volunteers.
“It is such a scary and vulnerable place to be in,” she writes in an email to Kiss FM. “I love this community, I love these athletes and I have tried with all my heart, mind, body and soul to serve this town. Right now I just feel so personally attacked and unjustly treated. I’m totally overwhelmed.”
She says they are completely willing to fix anything that may not be safe, once they get detailed directions.
Martens’ lawyer Shane Dugas, says in a letter, the timing of the notice delivery made it impossible for their client to work with the District on any issues.
“It is unfortunate that the Notice was posted and a press release relating to the private matter was posted by the public body without prior notice. It was a very unusual posting in a very public manner without prior notice or explanation,” says Dugas.
Dugas says the difficulties relating the sealed engineers’ letter have been overcome due to the efforts of Bourcet Engineering which was emailed to RDNO on Saturday.
“The attached copy of the sealed letter of Bourcet Engineering entirely addresses all issues which could have been dealt with had the notice any notice been received by Ms. Martens. Kindly contact your client and provide the letter as soon as possible and I would expect that our client will attempt to contact the District today which is the first business opportunity since the posting of the Notice,” says the lawyer.