Two Mile Creek cuts through Waterway Houseboats’ Two Mile property following the June 23 flash flood and debris flow.

Sicamous’ Waterway Houseboats initiates legal action against district and province

Houseboat company alleges governments were negligent, seeks $1.7 million for damages/losses.

  • Aug. 22, 2012 5:00 p.m.

A Shuswap houseboat-rental company is suing two levels of government for nearly $2 million after torrential floods in June caused substantial property damage — a flash flood the company says was caused by government negligence.

Court documents obtained by the newspaper show Waterway Houseboats Ltd. and Vinco Holdings Ltd. — operators of Waterway Houseboats on Mara Lake in Sicamous — are suing the provincial government and the District of Sicamous for $1.7 million.

The documents, filed Monday, Aug. 20  in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops, claim the June 23 flash flood can be attributed largely to the work of provincial officials in the 1990s who built a forestry road — Skyline Forest Service Road — to provide better timber access for loggers.

“The natural channel that formed the banks of Sicamous Creek was altered [when the road was built] and a culvert was installed in place of the natural channel,” the documents state, adding that increased logging after the road was built also caused increased water flow in the creek since the 1990s.

When water levels rose in June, the culvert became clogged with debris. The end result was a devastating flash flood believed to have caused damage in the millions of dollars.

“The forest service road effectively became a dam that caused a large volume of water and debris to accumulate,” the documents read.

“A torrent of water, mud, sand, boulders, trees and other debris was unleashed.

“The flood and debris torrent that came down the creek bed was enormous and totally unleashed. It swept away everything in its path.”

The documents claim the impact on Waterway Houseboats was increased because of a bridge — property of the District of Sicamous — that “diverted the flood and debris torrent north and directly on to the plaintiffs’ property.

“As a result, the water, mud, sand, boulders, trees, cars and other debris entered the plaintiffs’ land and caused severe damage.”

Waterway Houseboats claims in the documents to have spent $400,000 on clean-up after the flood — money the company wants reimbursed by the provincial and municipal governments.

In addition, Waterway is looking for $800,000 to cover the customer refunds they claim to have doled out, and another $500,000 in lost business.

Officials in Sicamous are still working on figuring out how much damage the flash flood caused.

Waterway Houseboats re-opened for limited business on July 12.

None of the allegations in the documents have been proven in court.

Both defendants — the provincial government and the District of Sicamous — have 30 days to file a response.

 

– Tim Petruk – Kamloops This Week

Just Posted

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

Shuswap Lake just keeps rising

Regional district officials encourage those with vulnerable properties to prepare early.

Tourism Kelowna adopts sustainability initiative

Responsible to environment key to long-term tourism growth

Herons build new colony near Fifth Street

Duplex developers will follow guidelines to protect birds nesting

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Size, cost set for proposed Vernon cultural facility

Size of new home for museum and art gallery is about 58,000 square feet; cost is $40 million

SilverStar reaches new heights with gondola

Vernon ski resort installing new feature, with opening date set for July 7

Salmon Arm falls to Vernon in womens masters division Soccer

A close game ends 3-2 in favor of Vernon

VIDEO: Campers leave big mess at rural Vancouver Island campsite

Vehicle parts, garbage, a mattress, lawn chairs, beer cans, and even fecal matter left in the area

Crashes, intoxication and thefts keep Chase RCMP busy

May long weekend sees police deal with threats, drunkeness and vehicle break-ins.

Highlights from a week of Shuswap soccer

League play in full swing over the long weekend

30 C in B.C., 30 cm of snow expected for eastern Canada

It might be hot in B.C., but the rest of Canada still dealing with cold

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

Most Read