Retaining wall - requirement to replace neighbour's wall
Our backyard slopes down to the River (we're at 78 metres, several streets below, the river is 54 meters), as do the other properties behind us and beside us. -- except for our direct backyard neighbour. She had a railway tie retaining wall built at the same time as her house in 1982 in order to have a level backyard. Now, ~40 years on, the retaining wall that backs on our property, and our next door neighbour's property, is failing. We filed service requests to determine if the owner could be required to replace this wall. Property Standards By-law 2013-416 states that "The owner of property shall repair, maintain and keep the property in accordance with the standards and take immediate action to eliminate any unsafe conditions". The bylaw officer has verbally told me and our next door neighbour that because the retaining wall is on our properties (stakes/pins mark our property lines), we are the "owners" and are therefore responsible for replacing the wall. It runs 65' along the back of our property, and my husband and I are obviously not keen to have to pay for a new wall.
Has anyone experienced anything similar? My neighbour is pursuing the matter with the grading department, as it seems logical that whoever owns the property that needs soil held back should be reponsible for maintaining that wall. I am friends with the elderly neighbour who built the retaining wall, and she agrees it is failing, but is unwilling to pay for a new one.