No deal yet in Pitt drainage suit

Man who sued City of Pitt Meadows says engineers refuse to sign
off on dike work

William Norton is worried about water seeping onto his property from the Pitt River

William Norton is worried about water seeping onto his property from the Pitt River

A man who lost a lawsuit against Pitt Meadows for a drainage problem on his property has been unable to reach a settlement with the city.

William Norton and the city’s lawyers can’t agree on what constitutes “reasonable expenses.”

Since they are unable to reach an agreement, provincial court judge Thomas Woods will have to make the decision for them.

The city wants Norton to cover court costs up to $11,000, a large chunk of which is an engineering report. Norton has agreed to pay for half of the engineering report, which amounts to around $4,000, but also wants the engineers, who designed and constructed the dike, to sign a “comfort letter” that states: the construction of the McQuarrie Road ramp and dike conform to accepted engineering practice and provincial standards “specifically the removal of internal runoff and seepage water to protect the necessary infrastructure and private property.”

The city is refusing to sign the letter, hence the stalemate.

“I don’t understand why they won’t sign it,” said Norton, noting his request isn’t unusual since all city dikes must comply with provincial standards.

Norton sued the city for $24,000 – the cost of replacing and installing a new septic tank. He represented himself in court.

Norton, who owns High Country Outfitters, lost the lawsuit because he failed to prove the municipality’s improvements to a dike in 2007 increased the flow of water onto his McQuarrie Rd. property, to the point where it damaged his septic tank.

The dike improvements were done in preparation for an unusually high spring freshet in 2007 that came with the threat of a flood.

Judge Woods found Norton’s claims floundered because he failed to establish adequate proof of a link between the city’s dike improvements and the failure of the septic tank that the court found was at least 23 years old.

Norton said he needs the city engineer to sign off on its dike improvements in order to sell his property, located at 18681 McQuarrie Road.

It was listed for sale at $1.2 million in September.

Any potential buyer would want the assurance that the dike isn’t causing drainage problems on his property.

“Without signing off on it, I don’t think the engineering work is worth the paper it’s writing on,” said Norton.

He also wonders why the city has spent so much money fighting the small claims suit. Norton noted the city hired ISL Engineering and a hydrologist, in addition to lawyers.

In B.C., Small Claims Court is the place people go to settle legal disputes for civil cases worth less than $25,000.

The city, though, believes it was necessary to protect its taxpayers.

“With any claim, whether it comes as a law suit or a simple request to pay for damaged property, the key factor is whether the city is liable for the damage,”said Pitt Meadows director of finance Dean Rear.

“It is important for any public entity providing stewardship of taxpayer resources to ensure that it doesn’t accept responsibility when it is not liable. In this case, the city and its insurers clearly felt it was not liable and needed to defend itself. It was accepted by the court that the dike had no effect on the drainage of the property.”

Rear could not say exactly how much has been spent on legal fees thus far, but the deducible for the city’s liability insurance policy is $10,000, and he confirmed that has been expended by the city.

Norton and the city are set to appear in front of Judge Woods in December.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students in Garibaldi secondary’s music program rehearse for Swing into Spring. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge high school adding a spring to their step

Swing into Spring concert to raise money for the Garibaldi secondary’s music program

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read