2017 Okanagan Lake Flood Damage Class Action Suit
It seems the Province is not going to compensate private property Owners for damages due to Okanagan Lake levels without a fight so a class action suit is inevitable.
So far I've been in contact with Dan Ashton, BC MLA, BC Disaster Financial Assistance, Kim Hyatt and Shaun Reimer.
If you've suffered flood damage (erosion, wharf loss, ancillary structures, pumping system, access, etc.) due to Okanagan Lake levels and desire compensation, then please contact me.
I'm creating a list of damaged private properties which I'll
publish and update here
Why is the Province liable?
1. The Province controls Okanagan Lake levels therefore property damage from flooding is NOT an "Act of God". see: Okanagan Flood Control System
2. Such flood control infers a duty of care to save harmless both public and private property Owners from their actions.
3. Public entities are being fully compensated for damages from the flooding yet NOTHING has been changed to include private Owner losses. see: COMPENSATION AND DISASTER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE REGULATION Provincial Assistance Regulation is primarily applied to "Acts of God"...this was NOT an "Act of God"!
4. The Province has admitted they deliberately left the lake level +/- 400mm higher than normal this year.
5. Their reasoning for this higher than normal level was an anticipated drought where lower lake levels might:
a. damage sport fishing habitat
Sorry, sport fishing does NOT take precedence over our private property rights!
b. not supply sufficient water for
downstream irrigation use
Rather than building the proper infrastructure, the Province, has relied upon a guessing game to establish how much water to retain in Okanagan Lake for downstream irrigation needs. Millions have been spent to construct and maintain downstream irrigation works yet NOTHING has been spent to guarantee sufficient seasonal volumes without the risk of flood damage. see: The Oliver Canal If the Okanagan Flood Control System included a pumping/siphon system, downstream irrigation needs would be met without any flood risks.
6. Kim Hyatt of DFO, who co-wrote the program being used to estimate the appropriate lake level states, "The issue with water management this year in particular comes down to limitations on River Forecast Centre abilities to accurately predict rapidly changing water supply conditions pertaining to late winter snowpack and melt as well as Environment Canada’s limited “skill” in forecasting future weather (i.e. 3-5 day forecasts are good; 10-day forecasts are often barely useable and certainly are not reliable)." The data being used for even a 10 day forecast is NOT reliable!
The Province literally guessed at lake levels to balance flood
risks vs. maintaining downstream seasonal volumes. If a pumping/siphon system,
similar to that already installed in the Oliver Canal works, had been in place,
the 2017 flooding would never have happened. Considering the millions spent to
construct and maintain the Oliver Canal, to NOT construct works that would
negate flood damage and maintain downstream seasonal volumes is a "lack of duty
of care" by the Province.