Developer sued over runoff

Two Naramata families have filed a lawsuit against a development uphill from them for damage to their property caused by water runoff over the past two years.

Plaintiff Lyle Armour has been publicly raising alarm about the issue since a 10-year-old retaining wall on the back of his property first collapsed in spring 2017.

At the time, he was told the flooding was a “once in a lifetime event,” but the water returned this year again knocking down his retaining wall and flooding his property.

His home sits below the KVR trail while the Naramata Benchlands development  — defendant in the lawsuit — sits above.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Penticton Supreme Court, Armour alleges the developer of the subdivision did not implement a strong enough drainage system.

“Prior to the development the forest cover, natural overburden and natural depressions acted as a natural storage basin to absorb and retain the water produced by sporadic rainstorms and annual snowmelt such that runoff to the KVR and to lands below was virtually non-existent,” the lawsuit claims.

Armour and his next-door neighbour Yin Leung are seeking punitive and general damages as well as costs related to the repairs required to their properties on Winifred Road.

It’s the second lawsuit by Naramata homeowners this year aimed at uphill developers. Alex and David Lea launched a civil claim in May against Kettle Ridge Development Corporation for a landslide that crashed into their home in March.

In both cases the developers of the separate subdivisions have placed the blame at the feet of the provincial government for failing to maintain ditches in the Naramata area.

"The design guidelines for subdivisions are extremely rigorous... I think one of the biggest issues we're seeing, throughout the valley, is ditches have not been maintained for a number of years,” Naramata Benchlands developer Randy Kowalchuk said in March.

Naramata Benchlands has not filed a response to the allegations in court.

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