The owners of the boats which made up most of Waterway Houseboats’ rental fleet will be receiving their portion of the settlement due after flooding in 2012 temporarily crippled the business and eventually contributed to its receivership. (File photo)

Owners of Waterway houseboats receive $5,000 each after court decision

The award follows a court case which found the province and Sicamous partially responsible for flood damage

The owners of the boats which made up the now-defunct Waterway Houseboats’ rental fleet are receiving a settlement to compensate them for the earnings lost due to the serious flood in 2012.

The flood severely damaged the Waterway property located on the shore of Mara Lake. An April 2019 court decision found the provincial government, the District of Sicamous and private landowners partially responsible for the flooding damage to Waterway’s property.

The houseboat company was awarded $2 million, but it proved to be insufficient to hold off its creditors and the company entered receivership and closed up shop in June 2019.

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Also provided in the 2019 court decision was $333,353 in damages. That money will be going to the 63 boat owners now that the court has decided how to split it among them. According to a decision issued in a Kelowna courtroom on May 12, the houseboats themselves were not damaged but the flood’s consequences for the business led to a loss of earnings for the boat owners.

The judgment issued by Justice G.P. Weatherill states the amount to be awarded was established based on an assessment of the loss of earnings for the boat owners caused by the flooding. In late April 2020, Weatherill received a request from the lawyer representing 45 of the boat owners, asking that the money be awarded. According to the judgment, the 45 houseboat owners had been in discussion with defendants in the case and a settlement was reached, but couldn’t be finalized until the $333,353 was allocated to the boat owners.

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According to the judgment, the request from the boat owners’ legal team suggested the money could be divided equally among the boat owners, or an expert allocation could take place using evidence from business valuators. Weatherill decided the money should be divided equally, making each boat owner’s share $5,323.06; expert allocation would have seen payments range from $2,632 to $9,267.73.

Weatherill’s decision was based on the fact that further submissions and analysis would be required for the expert allocation and even then the revenues earned by the boat owners if the flood had not happened can only be speculated as the business was unpredictable.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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