Naramata residents allege development caused flood damage

Suit alleges flood, slippage

A pair of Naramata residents are suing for damages to their property after they allege a development up the hill did not employ proper drainage procedures, allowing flooding and soil slippage that caused damage on their land. 

Martha and Dan Zeller filed the civil claim against Kettle Ridge Development Corporation and Ecora Engineering and Resources Group in March, claiming their property on Naramata Road had been severely damaged by flooding.

The lawsuit claims that the Upper Benchlands development area ignored suggestions from geotechnical firm Earth Tech for a drainage system that would direct runoff from the development to a major creek down to Okanagan Lake. 

"For reasons best known to the defendants, the defendants, knowing the impact that its development would have in terms of increased stormwater runoff, elected not to adopt the drainage recommendations in the Earth Teck report or otherwise to implement any effective measures to mitigate runoff damage to owners and occupiers of land below the development," alleges the suit. 

In March 2018, a flooding event inundated a section of the KVR and private land including the Zellers', as water and debris flowed across Gammon Road. 

The Zellers claim that as a result, they have been left in need of "substantial repair."

"Unless remedial drainage works are undertaken by the defendants and/or the Province the Plaintiff's land will continue to be at risk of further flooding," the civil suit alleges.

Their suit follows another from a neighbour that worked its way through the courts in 2018 and 2019. 

The Zellers' suit further claims that shortly after the March 2018 flood, the province installed a large pipe to take stormwater through the drainage strip to Gammon Road "but no provision whatever was made for the safe onward transmission of the water carried in the pipe with the result that all such water is now concentrated above the plaintiffs’ land and directed at the plaintiffs’ land."

A Tetra Tech review published in 2019 said the system designed by Ecora at Kettle Ridge was supposed to be able to handle a one-in-100-year event by storing water on-site in ponds and slowly releasing it for infiltration in a ditch along the KVR trail above the impacted homes, and said the designers erred by not considering the overall stormwater catchment area and only calculating the area of new development. 

The Zellers are seeking damages, including punitive damages, interest, costs and other relief. A specific remuneration has not been named.

They also want the Kettle Ridge Development Corporation to stop work until an effective drainage system is in place.

Ecora Engineering and a representative of Kettle Ridge Development Corporation both declined comment, and Dan Zeller was not reachable for comment as of publication time. 

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