Uneven bricks spark claims

City: Legal action ranges from potholes to icy streets.

Liability: The city fields about 25 claims per year regarding damage or injury.

Following the red brick road – or sidewalk actually – has led to an apparent problem for a couple of residents and an expense for the city.

Included in the city’s 2016 budget is funding for a rehab program for the brick strips along the edges of some city sidewalks and circling downtown trees.

“Red bricks downtown started to shift and heave,” stated Monica Dalziel, the city’s chief financial officer, during budget deliberations. “We had two claims this year. If we’re not doing something to fix that problem, we’re going to be sued.”

She also pointed to the importance of keeping people safe.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s public works director, explained the bricks provide a service along the utility corridor.

Instead of having to pull up concrete to deal with electrical wiring, for instance, city workers can remove bricks more easily.

He said the city has a program to fix bricks, done in conjunction with Downtown Salmon Arm who does a walk through town. Observations and comments from business owners are provided to the city.

Niewenhuizen also noted the city has to be diligent about repairing problems.

Receiving claims for mishaps is not a new phenomenon for the city – or for many municipalities.

Erin Jackson, the city’s corporate officer, handles citizens’ reports of injuries or damage.

She estimates the city gets about 25 such claims per year.

“It could be flooding, a lawnmower could spit a rock – a variety of things people think the city is responsible for,” she explains.

Other reasons might include potholes, sewer back-ups, trips and falls over anything on city property, and “slipping on ice – that’s a big one.”

There are also freak incidents which are nobody’s fault, she points out.

Jackson said the city responds to every claim that comes in the door, as well as keeping the resident updated as time progresses.

“They all make a claim to us, asking for compensation. At which point we forward it on to the Municipal Insurance Association (MIA). They do a rigorous investigation and see if the city was negligent in any way.”

Often the claims are denied, Jackson says.

“On the whole the city is very responsive when we receive information from the public – a paver loose or a pothole… When somebody tells us something is going on, we respond. And that’s why I think we have a lot of success; we don’t just hear from the public that something’s wrong and ignore it.”

Carl Bannister, the city’s chief administrative officer, notes the MIA decides what happens with the claims.

“I’d say the vast majority of claims are dismissed, but some of them are pursued further into the courts and some are settled before they go to court. That’s the call of MIA.”

The city also deals with other types of legal claims that don’t go to the MIA, such as alleged breach of contract, procedural fairness and others.

“In general, I think the city has been very fortunate with our success of defending lawsuits over the years,” Bannister remarked.


Just Posted

Wildfire sparks near perimeter of devastating 2017 Elephant Hill fire

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Okanagan Regional Library names new CEO

Don Nettleton, who has been with ORL for 24 years, takes over from Stephanie Hall

Market welcomes talking giraffe

Artists’ animated collaborative work comes to life at Westgate Public Market

Stolen vehicle evades attempt to spike tires near Sicamous

RCMP are looking for a black late 1990s Ford pickup with a suspension lift and no licence plates

CP vote deadline rescheduled for Friday

The deadline for the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and International Brotherhood of… Continue reading

They came for a good time on Shuswap Lake

Trooper plays for hundreds on Shuswap Lake this past May Long weekend

Olympian to lead Penticton Peach Festival parade

One of the top bobsled pilots in the world will lead the Peters Bros. Grand Parade

Two-year-old found unresponsive in pool

Mission RCMP located toddler after she went missing from a local daycare

Surrey RCMP issue warning after third sexual assault this week

It is the third sexual assault since Sunday

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Breaking: Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim, citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ in recent statement

Rivers rising: Floods in B.C., New Brunswick a warning of what’s to come

In B.C., thousands of residents are returning to homes this week marked with red or yellow signs indicating a health inspection is necessary

North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

North Korea has carried out what it says is the demolition of its nuclear test site in the presence of foreign journalists.

Penticton homeless campers devastated by park cleanup

Two women, in their 50s and 60s, said they felt like giving up after their only home was cleared out

Most Read