Lower section of Cascade Falls, taken at near-peak river level for 2020. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

Lower section of Cascade Falls, taken at near-peak river level for 2020. (Jensen Edwards/Grand Forks Gazette)

B.C. ordered to pay family of tubing accident victim $150K

Andrew Barrie and two others died in 2012 after they went over Cascade Falls while tubing

Eight years after her husband died in a tubing accident that took him and two others to their deaths at Cascade Falls near Christina Lake, Carol Barrie will finally receive some court-ordered financial compensation from the government of British Columbia, which a judge has found to have dragged its feet since she first filed a civil suit against the province in 2014.

In an April 9, 2020 ruling, Justice Joel Groves of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordered the province of B.C. to pay Barrie $150,000 to partially compensate her for provable loss and for legal fees spent thus far, as the province has repeatedly forced trial dates to be postponed.

Barrie’s husband Andrew and Christina Lake residents Ronald and Jacqueline Legare died on July 28, 2012, when they were tubing with a larger group down the Kettle River from Gilpin Grasslands Provincial Park. Barrie’s son first reportedly saw the Legares get swept away near the Great Trail’s trestle bridge at Cascade, before managing to save himself and his mother. Andrew Barrie’s body was recovered from the river seven days later, approximately a kilometre downstream.

Barrie’s initial suit, filed on behalf of herself and her children, names as defendants the province, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), the City of Grand Forks, as well as the Legare estate and fellow tubers Scott MacNeill, Kathy MacNeill, Jacqueline MacNeill and Jamie MacNeill, whom Barrie’s claim alleges should have known of the danger of Cascade Falls. Nevertheless, the court determined in January that liability lays with the province.

Barrie’s suit argues that the province ought to be responsible for warning signage along the Kettle River, leading up to dangerous sections such as Cascade Falls.

No trial in 10 years

The interim compensation, called a tort advance, was ordered by Groves in April to “partially compensate a plaintiff for their provable loss and is designed to ensure that the costs associated with a delay in having the matter effectively resolved are not too onerous for an aggrieved plaintiff.”

The case’s first trial date was set for 2016, but both parties agreed to postpone. Groves blamed the province’s inaction and mishandling of the evidence disclosure process for subsequent delays, in 2018 and more recently in April 2020.

Because B.C. appealed Groves’ January ruling that laid liability for the case on the province, April’s trial was cancelled too. Though Groves noted that COVID-19 pandemic would have delayed the April date anyways, because the province appealed in February, they are still on the hook, he said. The judge said that the matter would likely not come to trial again until 2022 – 10 years after Andrew Barrie and the Legares died.

Provincial delays pile up

In his April 9 ruling, Groves said that both the adjournments in 2018 and 2020 can be blamed on the conduct of the province. “Both relate to their failure to follow the Civil Rules in regards to disclosure of documents,” he wrote.

Before the 2018 trial date, the province apparently failed to offer a full disclosure of relevant documents, despite staff having twice sworn affidavits insisting that they had disclosed everything. In B.C., unlike some other jurisdictions, sworn affidavits of disclosure from parties aren’t necessary, but can be requested by a judge when they believe that “a party needs to be reminded of the significance of their obligation and needs to be reminded that consequences can flow from the failure of that obligation to disclose documents,” Groves wrote.

Barrie’s counsel was able to unearth more than 42,000 government documents deemed relevant to the case that were not shared by the province – many of which Groves said could be found in simple Google searches.

Beyond the documents, Barrie’s counsel also noted that the province offered a representative without sufficient knowledge to go through the discovery process. The provincial representative was from Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC), and reportedly said in his March 11, 2016 discovery session that “The [Barrie] incident on the river fell outside of our specific area of responsibility.” Instead, the RSTBC representative placed that responsibility on BC Parks.

Seeking compensation for six years of legal action, Barrie asked the court last summer to be awarded a $250,000 tort advance – approximately 30 per cent of what Andrew Barrie would have earned between 2012 and 2020. Groves had denied the request as recently as January, when it appeared that a trial was immanent. When the province appealed his January decision to lay liability at their feet, he re-evaluated.

From Barrie’s original ask for a $250,000 tort advance, Groves noted that “She described circumstances which I consider to be hardship, circumstances that she has faced since the loss of her husband and the loss of his income to support their family,” adding that the evidence in her case was “significant.”

Still, $250,000 is well above what is usually awarded in a tort advance, Groves explained in his April decision, before settling on the $150,000 figure. Groves said in his decision that the evidence he’s seen so far “suggests a quantified loss well in excess of the requested tort advance.”

Read more: Legare couple from Christina Lake deceased after Kettle River tubing accident

Read more: Family suing over drowning


@jensenedw
Jensen.edwards@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Grand Forkslawsuit

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

Just Posted

A member of the Okanagan Mission Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps)
Another COVID-19 case confirmed at Okanagan Mission Secondary school

Interior Health has confirmed a member of the school community tested positive for the virus

A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)
Contentious Kelowna Costco relocation moved to public hearing

Costco looking to move less than a kilometre away to build a larger store with more parking, gas bar

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Const. Samantha McClellan (left) and Staff-Sgt. Jeff Faulkner (right) accept a bag of dog treats from Vernon’s Marco Lavigne at the Cram The Cruiser fundraiser event in support of the Pet Soup Kitchen Tuesday, July 27, at Vernon’s Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition and Siupply. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
RCMP to host annual ‘Stuff the Cruiser’ event safely amid COVID-19

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28 at Kelowna RCMP Detachment at 1190 Richter Avenue

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest B.C. premier tells Okanagan girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B&E, stolen car in Vernon lands Whitehorse man in cuffs

Suspect takes off on foot in attempts to evade arrest

Penticton Search and Rescue along with the Penticton Fire Department located and airlifted an injured 21-year-old female hiker Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (Mike Biden photo)
Penticton search and rescue airlift injured hiker off mountain

There has been an unprecedented amount of calls for search and rescue this year

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

Salmon Arm RCMP nabbed two Calgary suspects in an allegedly stolen vehicle on Highway 1 on Nov. 22, 2020. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP use spike belts on Highway 1 to nab Calgary suspects

Arrests occur after Revelstoke RCMP clock allegedly stolen vehicle going faster than 160 km/h

Most Read