RMR parent company Northland sues Province of B.C. over water contamination

Northland claims over $250,000, disputes fine after RMR disturbance of creek led to delays in opening some resort facilities

Revelstoke Mountain Resort parent company Northland Properties is suing the Province of British Columbia for more than $250,000, claiming that actions by the Resort Development Branch delayed the opening of its new beginner area last year.

The lawsuit also alleges the province acted improperly in assigning a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) to oversee restoration work done after damage was done to Thomas Brook, which supplies water to a number of homes in the area.

“The Province’s actions directly resulted in a delay in completion of operation testing and finally the delay of the Tube Park and Beginner’s Area opening at the beginning of the season,” alleges the Statement of Claim filed by Northland. “The delay caused decreased employment opportunities provided by this development and a loss of public image to RMRLP (Revelstoke Mountain Resort Limited Partnership) and further profitability to RMRLP.”

The lawsuit asks for at least $250,000 in damages, as well $16,517.20 in special damages, which is the amount RMR was billed for the services of a QEP hired by the province.

The lawsuit stems from an August 2011 incident where a sub-contractor working for Hard Hammer Construction, the Northland subsidiary responsible for construction at the resort, disturbed Thomas Brook, causing sediment to enter the stream. The action caused nearby homes to go without clean water for a month,

Work was stopped in the area and remedial actions taken. The Resort Development Branch (RDB) ordered RMR to hire a QEP to oversee the work. The claim states Northland hired Azimuth Consulting to do the work, but they were not able to start right away.

The RDB then hired Silvatech to start the work right away, but at a higher cost.

The claim states that the province’s unwillingness to wait three days meant the cost of hiring the QEP was not RMR’s responsibility.

It goes on to state the RDB contravened the Master Development Agreement by rejecting an application to test snow making over the payment issue.

The Conservation Office fined RMR $460 for two counts of violating the province’s Water Act.

RMR is contesting those tickets and a hearing on the matter was adjourned on Thursday after a lawyer for the resort said a ruling on the tickets might cause prejudice in the civil suit. The matter has been referred to provincial court.

The allegations have yet to be proven in court and the province has yet to provide a response.

 

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