By Meg Olson
Point Roberts has an elephant in the room. The Cottages at Seabright Farm is in trouble, but with very few exceptions, no one wants to talk about it.
Orca Shores LLC is behind on property taxes according to Whatcom County records and, as of July 29, two companies who have worked on the project have secured liens against properties owned by Orca Shores LLC at Seabright for work they allege they were not paid for. Landscaping and maintenance staff have been laid off and gardener George Wright says they have not been paid since June. Public access trails remain blocked by storm debris from last December and landscaping is becoming weedy or dying from lack of care.
“From the ground level, this has been like watching a disaster in slow motion,” said Wright, the only one of a dozen people interviewed who would allow the All Point Bulletin to use their name when it comes to the development’s financial woes. However, they all agree that financial mismanagement has left investors and homeowners angry and looking for answers.
There are seven property owners with homes built at Seabright and Wright said some of them met with representatives of Orca Shores LLC on August 21. “They are not happy,” Wright said. “There has been ineptitude and mismanagement of an enormous amount of money.”
According to Whatcom County records, of the 59 lots that can be developed at Seabright, Orca Shores LLC owns 33. Owners of all lots are legally bound to pay fees for the maintenance of shared areas, such as the garden and pool, and public access areas such as the trails. Several sources who asked not to be named have pointed to Orca Shores not paying their share of those fees as the root of the current degradation of the property.
In addition to Orca Shores being the primary contributor of funds to the homeowners’ association, Anders Kruus, principal of one of the corporation’s two governing entities, has managed the homeowners’ association funds. He did not return calls for comment.
Wright and other sources have said that Mengfa International Resources Inc., the other governing entity of Orca Shores LLC and believed to be the primary investor, has sent their own auditor to untangle the development’s finances. Mengfa International Inc. shares the same address on Denman Street in Vancouver as Boundary Bay Investments LLC, which purchased the Point Roberts Marina in 2015.
Trent Gustafson, who owns two lots in the development and built his home there in 2017, said homeowners had taken on many of the tasks of maintaining landscaping. “We’ve been working together to keep the place looking good, and it has brought us closer together as residents,” he said. Like others, he did not want to comment on the record further regarding the development’s management and financial woes. He did, however, say homeowners at Seabright Farm would welcome community members, especially those with chainsaws, to help them keep public access trails open and maintained.