Kelowna couple battles for compensation from water damages

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Kelowna couple battles for compensation from water damages
Kelowna couple battles for compensation from water damages – Apr 3, 2018

For 89-year-old Rosemary Lalonde, a dream retirement home has turned into a crumbling nightmare.

There was a water main break in her Glenmore neighbourhood two years ago, and water was gushing, but it wasn’t fixed for nearly six weeks, she said.

Now, Rosemary and her 87-year-old husband Bert say they are dealing with at least $100,000 of water damage, including splintered studs, cracking ceilings and crumbling cement.

READ MORE: Lake Country Flooding Preparations

“It’s just been very difficult. The sunroom has almost been condemned because it could fall in,” Rosemary said. “The pictures are coming off the wall because the wall is bulging.”

Neighbours said the leak was reported at the time, but the Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District called it groundwater.

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“And when it finally was boiling up out of the ground, Darren, the neighbour directly beside them, he took a jar in and set it on their counter and said, ‘You better test this,’” neighbour Adriene Harbison said. “And shortly after that, they came, repaired it, and the water was gone.”

“You’ve got thousands of gallons of water coming into someone’s yard and to think that’s not going to do some damage? It’s a no-brainer.”

In a letter sent to the Lalondes, the Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District admits there was a minor leak in late April, but said it was repaired quickly.

It investigated the site in March but a chlorine test indicated the water in question was groundwater, according to the document.

READ MORE: Dam owner in south Okanagan ordered to pump reservoir following community flooding

The Lalondes have insurance, but their company says it won’t cover the loss.

According to a report by an engineer for the insurance company, the damages were “a result of inevitable and expected earth movement due to the local swelling clay soil conditions and ongoing water seepage conditions.”

READ MORE: Flooding shuts down Gellatly Road in West Kelowna

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The Lalondes hired their own expert, and he found that most of the damage could be tied back to the pipe break.

Meanwhile, the senior couple has been burdened by legal and engineering costs as they try to get compensation for the water damage.

“We’re spending an awful lot of our income to try to get somebody to take some responsibility, but so far, we have to go to the law courts,” Bert said.

READ MORE: Province did all it could in face of 2017 Okanagan flood: report

The Glenmore Ellison Improvement District wasn’t available for an interview but said in a statement that it isn’t liable for any damage due to water main leaks under the Local Government Act.

The Lalondes’ insurance company said it cannot comment as the matter is before the courts.


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