Skip to content

Naramata couple suing developers over landslide

Couple claims Kettle Ridge Development Corporation knew of risk, but neglected to protect from slide
At least one downed tree and several bushes were uprooted in an unrelated landslide behind another Naramata woman’s property in April. A March landslide is the subject of a lawsuit between a Naramata couple and developers working in the area of their home. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

A Naramata couple is seeking a stop-work order and costs from a developer after a March 22 landslide reportedly damaged their property.

David and Alexandra Lea filed a civil suit against the Kettle Ridge Development Corporation on Monday, alleging the developers, working above the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, allowed a watershed to be breached, causing the landslide.

“Naramata Benchlands are well known to experience short duration, high intensity rainstorms,” the lawsuit reads, noting the development prior to development had a natural water storage basin “such that runoff to the KVR and to lands below was virtually non-existent.”

Related: Highway 3A closed because of mudslide

The couple claimed the developers would have known of the threat of greater flooding and erosion without work being done to mitigate the effects of changing landscape, pointing to a September 2006 report.

“In particular, the report drew up and recommended a drainage system that would take the runoff produced by the development through a series of drains and easements down to a major creek or Okanagan Lake,” the lawsuit reads, claiming the developers were aware of the report.

But while the couple claimed the developers acquired a strip of land to properly carry water, the developers reportedly did not make use of the recommendations of the report, created by Earth Tech.

Related: Landslide closes West Bench Hill Road

On March 22 this year, the plaintiffs claimed a “short duration, high intensity” rainstorm occurred “with the result that drainage from the development inundated a section of the KVR including the portion directly above the plaintiffs’ home collapsing that section of the KVR and bringing a large volume of water, rocks and debris down on the plaintiffs’ home and land.”

That, the plaintiffs said, caused alterations and “destroyed” the natural water drainage system in the area, with the Lea family claiming water now drains directly onto their property, causing instability in the land.

Related: Penticton Speedway cleaning up landslide

The plaintiffs said they were evacuated from their home for five days as a result of the slide, and have suffered “trauma and distress, and have been left with a home and land in need of substantial repair.”

Kettle Ridge Development Corporation has not yet filed a response to the claim, which is being handled in the B.C. Supreme Court level, meaning a claim of greater than $35,000 in damages.

Related: Naramata woman narrowly dodges landslide in her backyard

Landslides have been relatively common around the Okanagan of late, including a notable slide on Highway 3A at Yellow Lake, which still has the highway reduced to single-lane alternating traffic.

In early April, another Naramata resident’s home was subjected to a landslide, which took days to clean up.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter
Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.