Waterway Houseboats wins $2 million for damages caused in 2012 flood

Houseboat company wins lawsuit involving Province of British Columbia, District of Sicamous

The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled the Province of British Columbia and the District of Sicamous are liable for damages caused to Waterway Houseboats’ Mara Lake property when Sicamous Creek burst its banks in 2012.

Waterway is to receive more than $2 million as a result of the April 16 judgment.

According to the suit filed by Waterway, Vinco Holdings which own’s the 2 Mile property the houseboat company property operates on, and a group of individual houseboat owners, remediation work after flooding in 1997 contributed to serious damage to their property and loss of income in 2012.

Read More: Sicamous Houseboat company urges city to undertake study

Read More: Residents weigh in on protecting Sicamous from flooding

The judgment, delivered by Justice Gary Weatherill in a Kelowna courtroom, states that days of intense rainfall in June 2012 combined with snowmelt in the Sicamous Creek watershed to create a debris flood. The key issue at play in the case was whether a blockage under a private bridge over the creek could have been prevented when the bridge was replaced and the creek was dredged after the 1997 flooding.

The plaintiffs alleged that when a truck had fallen into the creek during the 2012 flooding and became lodged under a bridge, it created a blockage which led the creek to escape its channel, damaging the Waterway property. The bridge led to private property owned by Alberta residents Bryan and Constance McLaughlin, who are listed as defendants in the suit alongside the province and the district.

The plaintiffs say that had the channel restoration and McLaughlin Bridge replacement been properly designed and constructed, the truck would have passed underneath the bridge, and the blockage and resulting flood would not have occurred.

The defendants claimed the 2012 flood was so massive that it would have overwhelmed the creek channel regardless of other circumstances.

Justice Weatherill’s decision states that had the blockage at the bridge not occurred, the creek would have continued to flush the majority of its flow into Mara Lake.

The court found that both the McLaughlins and the district fell short of compliance with conditions as approval holders over the bridge replacement and creek bed remediation projects. The province was also found liable for breaching their duty of care to the plaintiffs in issuing permits for the bridge replacement.

Read More: District to seek financial assistance from B.C. government

Read More: Shuswap Lake still on the rise, but rate slows

Waterway Houseboats and Vinco Holdings were awarded damages for economic loss in the amount of $887,299 and special damages in the amount of $1,166,850.

Court documents state each of the defendants will have to pay $684,716 to Vinco and Waterway.

The individual houseboat owners were awarded damages for lost profits in the amount of $312,997.

Waterway Houseboats’ chief operating officer Neil Millar said they are happy with the judge’s decision, but not necessarily with the amount of damages that are being awarded.

“We sued for, I think it was $10 million. There was a reason for that, it wasn’t pie-in-the-sky stuff; none of this is punitive or anything like that. It’s simply just that’s what it cost us with everything,”

Millar said he is also pleased that the judge recognized the extraordinary effort Waterway’s staff put in to get back in business three weeks after the flood.

“We’re grateful for our customers who believed in us after the flood and have come back year after year for great houseboat vacations.”

Sicamous’ Mayor Terry Rysz said it is important the public realize that Sicamous is covered under the municipal insurance association of B.C.

“That’s the ruling and that’s the responsibility when proper procedure and process isn’t followed,” said Rysz.

“Sometimes we get criticized for not being open for business and not being accommodating at town hall, but this a prime example of what can take place when it comes to liability. This is a lesson learned for all of us I think.”


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm cannabis retailers reflect on legalization

Edible products now legal, not expected to be available until December

CSRD won’t pursue referendum for Centennial Field purchase

Public opposition to borrowing $1.77 for park land heard by board directors

Memorial bench honours the contribution of former Salmon Arm fire chief Pat Shirley

The Shirley family has a long history with the Salmon Arm department going back to the early 1900s.

Kraft Heinz Project Play voting underway, an opportunity to light Larch Hills

Public participation needed to win $250,000 in project funding

Wood pellet supply a concern for Salmon Arm business

Prices increase after Pinnacle Renewable Energy steps away from bag sales

Memorial remembers North Okanagan’s most marginalized

Prayers and flowers for those who have died on the streets

Salmon Arm history in pictures: Apple harvest time

Denis Marshall writes, “Apple-harvest time lent a quickened pace and pungent aroma… Continue reading

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

North Okanagan patients benefit from new staff and equipment

New physiatrist and much-needed equipment at VJH

Growing cherries, apples, pears — and big pumpkins

Boerboom worked to produce a massive melon from his Summerland farm

Most Read