Province denies all claims in response to Northland Properties lawsuit

Province of B.C. issues response to claims by Northland Properties in lawsuit related to Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

The Province of British Columbia is denying any responsibility for the delay in the opening of Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s beginner area last year, and it says it wasn’t satisfied with the resort’s response to the contamination of a local water source.

The Province issued its response last week to a lawsuit filed by Northland Properties in October.

The events of the lawsuit stem from August 2011, when a contractor working for the resort contaminated Thomas Brook, which is used as a water source for about a dozen residences in the area. They were left without clean water for about a month while clean up was done.

The incident took place on Aug. 25, 2011. The province gave Northland until Sept. 9 to hire a contractor to oversee the cleanup. The deadline was extended to Sept. 14 when Northland was unable to secure a contractor right away.

It was not until Sept. 15 that the province ordered in a contractor to conduct the work. The contractor’s fee was taken from the developer’s security deposit. Northland claims another contractor could have done the work cheaper and that it wasn’t given the opportunity for a competitive bid on the job. According to Northland, the province delayed an application for snow-making until the security deposit was topped up, which Northland claims caused the delay in the opening of the Turtle Creek beginner area and tube park. The company asked for at least $266,517 in damages – $250,000 from lost revenue due to the delay in openening and the rest due to increased contractor costs.

In its response, the province denied most of Northland’s claims. It stated that it gave Northland “a reasonable amount of time” to hire a contractor to oversee clean-up of the creek and that one contractor couldn’t have done it for less than another.

“If so, the province denies it had an obligation to prioritize saving a few thousand dollars over timely restoration of water supply for downstream users in a timely fashion,” the Province stated in its response. “It would have been completely unreasonable to delay mitigation measures in the circumstance to permit competitive bidding.”

The province’s response says the developer is required to minimize any environmental impacts of the development, that it is allowed to use the security deposit for environmental remedies and it is the developer’s responsibility to top it back up.

The province also denied causing any delay in the opening of the beginner area and tube park.

The resort was fined $460 for contaminating Thomas Brook. It is contesting the ticket and the hearing is scheduled for Revestoke court on Wednesday, Feb. 20.