British Columbia

Langley Township alleges deck that collapsed, injuring partygoers, was illegally built

The Township of Langley, which faces lawsuits over a deck that collapsed during a party in April, injuring 18 people, has filed court documents claiming the deck was illegal and had not been inspected.

18 people were taken to hospital in April, 2019, after a deck collapsed during a party.

RCMP say a deck collapsed at a celebration at a property in Langley, B.C., where more than 100 people were gathered on April 19, 2019. (Shane MacKichan)

The Township of Langley, which faces lawsuits over a deck that collapsed during a party in April, injuring 18 people, has filed court documents claiming the deck was illegal and had not been inspected.

On April 19, 2019, 19 ambulances and an air ambulance were dispatched to a 12,350 square-foot home in the 5800-block of 268 St. in Langley. Dozens of people were reportedly injured and 18 were taken to the hospital.

Beginning in September, a series of lawsuits were filed in B.C. Supreme Court. They named as defendants the father of the bride who was celebrating with a pre-wedding party at the time, the owners of the luxury home, the company that built the deck that had collapsed, and the Township of Langley.

Those who were injured in the collapse say they suffered numerous injuries including broken bones, soft tissue injuries, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.

Now, the township has filed its response to the lawsuits, claiming the deck wasn't in the original design for the property, wasn't part of the house for which a building permit was granted, and wasn't there when final inspections were completed.

According to the court documents, the township claims the deck was illegally built and the final inspection was "surreptitiously and entirely unbeknownst to the township." 

Nineteen ground ambulances and one air ambulance were dispatched to the scene, where officers found more than 100 people had been celebrating. (Shane MacKichan)

The township alleges the deck was deficient in a few ways, including that it wasn't correctly attached to the house and that a gap allowed water to get in and create rot.

The township's response also describes a property fraught with violations, including the construction of at least three suites without building permits, and contrary to the zoning bylaw. 

The suites were ordered dismantled, according to the court documents, and in 2014 the township issued a building permit for a single secondary suite in the large house.

The township also claims an illegal business was being run at the house by one of the other defendants in the case, Amaroo Estate. The business allegedly included providing "executive style furnished accommodations," and the rental of the property to the father of the bride at the time of the deck collapse.

Langley Township claims it was not aware of the business before the collapse, and that Amaroo Estate dissolved as a company three days after the incident.

Responses to the lawsuits haven't been filed by the other defendants, including Amaroo Estate and its former directors.

None of the claims in the Township's response, nor in those of the plaintiffs have been tested in court.


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