Lawsuit over flooding of Tabor Lake property dismissed
A B.C. Supreme Court Justice has dismissed a Tabor Lake couple’s claim that the provincial government is responsible for the damage their home has suffered from flooding.
Mervin and Elizabeth Sadowick had been seeking $75,000 to $100,000 in compensation.
At issue was whether, on balance, diversion of a nearby creek caused the trouble and in a decision issued this week, Justice Ron Tindale found otherwise.
According to testimony during a trial held in January, the Tabor Lake Cleanup Society filled in a side channel of Skaret Creek in 1993 so that it flowed into a “north-flowing channel” before entering Tabor Lake. However, the work was unauthorized because the society failed to provide engineering plans prior to carrying out the project and late in the same year, a half-metre tall berm was put across the entrance to the diversion.
But because the diversion was as much as four times higher than the berm, it proved ineffective and, by 1997, Skaret Creek began once more to flow through the north-flowing channel, and continues to do so.
The Sadowicks purchased the property from his parents in 2005 and that year and in 2006 and in 2007, the property and the home experienced flooding.
About two feet of water accumulated in the home’s basement in one instance and a trailer home was jacked up due to pooling. The house’s foundation is rotten and the basement has mould, the court heard.
In 2009, the Fraser-Fort George Regional District constructed three berms on the property in response to the Sadowicks’ concerns.
From 2008 to 2011, flooding occurred in the spring and autumn each year, according to testimony. Flooding continues to occur but the volume had been less and the Sadowicks have put numerous loads of gravel on the property and has installed a culvert to divert water flow.
Tindale relied in particular on evidence from a hydrologist who testified on behalf of the government. He concluded the return of Skaret Creek to the north flowing channel was a result of natural action and noted the house was built on an alluvial fan or “triangularshaped deposit of water-transported material.”
“Eventually, alluvial fans cause trouble for homeowners, as people often have a poor understanding of building on alluvial fans,” Tindale said in summarizing the hydrologist’s testimony.
There was also evidence a beaver dam raised the level of Tabor Lake and produced flooding on the property, he noted.
The Sadowicks did not call any expert witnesses.
The full decision is posted with this story at www.pgcitizen.ca.