Province and several forestry companies named in lawsuit over flood damage in Grand Forks in 2018

Suing over flood damage

Grand Forks residents whose homes suffered significant damage resulting from massive flooding two years ago have filed a class-action lawsuit against the province and several forestry companies.

The lawsuit has been brought forward by Jamie Massey, Jennifer Houghton and the Reibin Estate, on behalf of themselves and a class defined as "all persons in Grand Forks, British Columbia, and within 15 kilometres of Grand Forks, whose property, place of residence, assets, business(es), health or livelihood was affected, damaged, lost or destroyed as a result of the flooding event that occurred between the 8th and 11th of
May, 2018.”

The suit names the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, along with Interfor Corporation, Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, Tolko Industries, NK'Mip Forestry Corporation, NK'Mip Forestry LLP, Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation and Mercer Celgar Pulp Ltd., as co-defendants.

The suit is claiming negligence by the province and the companies contributed to the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle bursting their banks on May 8, 2018.

Rising flood waters resulted in the evacuation of about 1,500 properties, and ultimately extensive damage to several properties, including those named in the suit.

According to the lawsuit, the severity of flooding was "the result of forestry harvesting and watershed resource mismanagement that significantly increased levels of sedimentation, sediment ransport, water quality, and the timing of flow and the runoff into the Granby and Kettle rivers during peak melt seasons."

"The flood waters that caused the Grand Forks flooding had emanated from the defendants’ land. It is a direct result of the overharvesting cutblocks by the defendants at mid to high elevations, including the cutblocks sold by BCTS for harvesting in the Kettle River basin," the documents claim.

As a result, they say more massive flooding occurred in late May and early June of this year.

In their court filing, the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified monetary damages for financial losses incurred as a result of the flooding, physical injury and health concerns, loss of income and loss of enjoyment of life, along with punitive damages.

They are also seeking an admission of guilt from the defendants.

Those named in the lawsuit have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

None of the allegations outlined in the 28-page document have been proven in court.

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