Houseboat company sues province, Sicamous over 2012 flooding

Sixty-day trial now underway in BC Supreme Court in Kelowna

A giant flood in Sicamous may have occurred six years ago, but the disaster remains front and centre in a Kelowna courtroom.

In BC Supreme Court in Kelowna, Waterway Houseboats Ltd., individual houseboat owners, and Vinco Holdings Ltd. are suing the District of Sicamous, the provincial government and two homeowners over the 2012 flood.

According to court documents, the source of their claim goes back to 1997 when Sicamous Creek overflowed its banks. Remediation work included channel dredging and bank repairs to the creek, and the re-installation of a private access bridge to private property.

“On June 23, 2012, there was a second flood… causing what the plaintiffs describe as ‘catastrophic’ physical damage to the Vinco property and and Waterway’s infrastructure and prevented Waterway from operating its houseboat business for a period of time,” states the document. “The plaintiffs sue the defendants alleging the 2012 flood was caused by the remediation work and its improper design and construction.”

The Vinco property is described as the site where Waterway operates a houseboat rental business and marina.

Related: Local state of emergency declared for 2 Mile and Swansea Point near Sicamous

Related: Houseboat company’s lawsuit claims government negligence

In reply, the defendants deny the allegations.

The District of Sicamous makes a number of arguments, including that it had no involvement in the re-installation of the private bridge, other than helping the owners obtain provincial emergency funding, nor did it have responsibility for designing or restoring the channel of Sicamous Creek.

Court documents outlining the district’s position also state that from 2006 and after, the plaintiffs were aware through their own engineer that the risk of flood or debris flood impact was moderate to high at the Vinco property.

A scheduled 60-day trial of the case that was set to get underway on April 3 was adjourned to April 16 when the defendants applied to ‘strike’ the claims against them.

Justice G.P. Weatherill heard the lawyers’ arguments and, on April 13, agreed with the plaintiffs that the trial should proceed. He dismissed the defendants’ claims and the trial is underway.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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