Heavy rain, swelling rivers threaten Vancouver Island First Nation

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. _ A First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., expects to evacuate some homes as heavy rains cause rivers to flood.

Tseshaht Nation emergency preparedness co-ordinator Hugh Braker said the community has been sand bagging riverside properties and roads, but with up to 120 millimetres of rain expected by Wednesday, the risk for flooding remains high.

Out buildings including garages and carports were damaged by flooding on the weekend, but no homes have been affected yet, Braker said.

Six families who were forced to leave their homes on the weekend as a precaution were able to return, but a new round of evacuations is anticipated to begin Monday evening.

Braker said the reserve’s major thoroughfare, Highway 4, is also expected to be washed out by rising water levels, posing challenges for emergency crews as they try to reach people.

“Our reserve is serviced by the fire department of the City of Port Alberni. If we have a fire above the flooded highway, it’s going to take a very long time for the trucks to respond.”

Although a school on the reserve is not within the flood plane, Braker said classes might be cancelled to prevent students from having to travel on flooded roads.

He said flood levels from the Somass River are expected to peak Tuesday, and could be comparable to historic flooding that devastated the community in 2014.

The reserve has faced flood risks every year since then.

“It’s very unusual for us,” he said about flooding three years in a row. “Certainly it’s something the … Tseshaht First Nation council will have to look at after this emergency is over.”

The Tseshaht Nation declared a state of emergency on Friday and has been working with the province and Environment Canada to monitor the flood and take precautions.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of preventative planning and placement of resources in anticipation of the flood.”

CP3

Alberta pays tribute to first responders who battled massive Fort McMurray fire

The Alberta government is paying tribute to first responders who battled and dealt with the Fort McMurray wildfire.

The province is naming the bridge that crosses Highway 63, which goes through the town, as “Responders Way.”

The fire in May forced almost 90,000 people to flee the region and destroyed more than 1,900 structures.

When the first batch of residents were allowed back about a month later, first responders stood on the bridge over the highway to welcome them home.

Melissa Blake, mayor of the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes the city of Fort McMurray, says they are delighted with the tribute.

Premier Rachel Notley, who was in Fort McMurray on Wednesday to make the announcement, says people will think of what the first responders did every time they cross the bridge or drive under it.

“First responders, during the Wood Buffalo fire, absolutely made the difference. They made the difference between safety and danger, they made the difference between chaos and order, and certainly, in many, many cases, they made the difference between life and death,” said Notley.

“They dedicated themselves without thinking. All of you did, you just went out and you did your work, and you worked and you worked for hours and hours and days and days and I remember coming up here and seeing people who hadn’t gone home for days, they were just working and working, even knowing that their home wasn’t even there.”

Notley made several stops in the community on Wednesday, including spending time at Westwood High School with students in Grades 10, 11, and 12, all of whom had lost their home in the fire.

She also visited the very first home site to get a rebuild permit after the fire. The home is nearly completed.

Erin O’Neill, Wood Buffalo recovery branch lead, said in the Thickwood neighbourhood alone there were a total of 178 homes lost. She said so far 41 rebuild permits have been issued in Wood Buffalo and across the region 229 rebuild permits have been issued.

Some Fort McMurray residents have expressed anger over red tape and the slow pace of insurance payouts.

Severe hailstorm in Moose Jaw causes more than $71 million in insured damage

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports a severe storm that swept through Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan during the third week of July has resulted in more than $71 million in insured damage according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

On the evening of July 22, a cold front caused severe thunderstorms across the southern parts of Saskatchewan. A particularly severe storm formed over the north end of Moose Jaw, SK and pelted the city with large hail.

“The Prairies experience more hail each year than almost any other part of Canada,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. “It is important that Canadians understand their insurance policies and what’s covered. It’s also essential to have an emergency preparedness plan and know what to do before, during and after bad weather strikes.”

Most of the more-than-5,000 insurance claims filed from this storm resulted from hail damage. Across Moose Jaw reports of damage to vehicles, windows, houses, and other pieces of property were widespread. However, the northern end of the city was the hardest hit.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and@IBC_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About CatIQ
Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.catiq.com.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

How do I Deal with the Legal System After a Fatal Collision?

Scales of JusticeHow do I deal with the legal system after my son was killed by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel? This was the plea in my in-box from a mother who was trying to understand in the recent aftermath of a catastrophe. The two haunting concerns that she has right now is that this driver is still legally allowed to drive and the most significant consequence that he might face for causing death is a traffic ticket.

At it’s most basic, the investigation by police will involve the gathering of information about all involved, photographs, witness statements and perhaps a few measurements. A situation like this one should also involve an officer specially trained in collision reconstruction and a commercial vehicle inspector as the offending vehicle was a five ton van. At best, a dedicated crash investigation team that employs many experienced investigators with a wide range of skills could be called to participate.

A quick start and a thorough initial investigation to gather as much information as possible is critical to the outcome of any prosecution of the offending driver. This can take time to complete and then prepare a comprehensive report to Crown Counsel for a decision on appropriate charges.

What happens to the offending driver between the initial incident and the first appearance in court to face charges depends on many things. The severity of the incident, the actions of the driver that led to it, their criminal and driving history and the possibility of repeated similar behaviour in the near future are all considered. It is not uncommon to have an alcoholic driver with previous convictions released by a justice of the peace on a condition not to drive until the conclusion of the case for a current offence and could be considered for an incident such as this one.

In British Columbia, once the police investigation is concluded and a report to Crown Counsel is filed a decision will be made on how to deal with the offence. The Crown Counsel Policy Manual sets out responsibility for decisions and what the possible range of actions might be. Depending on the decision, actions may range from alternate measures, a traffic ticket or criminal prosecution.

Finally, the issue of punishment for the offending driver is dealt with by the courts, assuming that the driver is convicted or pleads guilty. Again, the range of outcomes is extensive, ranging from alternative resolutions, Motor Vehicle Act convictions, and criminal convictions including fines, house arrest and jail sentences. The judge is restricted in applying penalty by case law and the charges that Crown Counsel chooses to prosecute.

RoadSafetyBC, also known as the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles can choose to take action if advised as well. The Superintendent can choose to prohibit a driver when it is in the public interest to do so.

The Criminal Code of Canada says that a person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, they cause the death of a human being. Further, a person commits culpable homicide when they cause the death of a human being by means of an unlawful act or by criminal negligence. A driver is criminally negligent when they show wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

A commercial driver who must follow hours of service rules and disregards them could be considered to be showing reckless disregard, as well as any driver who is aware that they are excessively fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel and continues to drive.

Reference Link:

‘Try [to] keep that loss at a bare minimum.’– Kent Rowe, Insurance Broker’s Association

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Motorist Found Fully At Fault For Crash Despite Being Rear-Ended

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

erik-magraken

Although it is the exception rather than the norm, when a motorist is rear-ended they can sometimes be found partly if not fully at fault for a collision.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, with such an outcome.

In today’s case (Bingul v. Youngson) the Plaintiff was rear-ended by a dump-truck driven by the Defendant.  The parties had different versions of how the collision occurred but the Court noted concerns with the Plaintiff’s credibility and accepted the Defendant’s testimony.  The court found that the Plaintiff abruptly moved into the lane of traffic occupied by the Defendant when it was unsafe to do so, namely when he was stopping for an intersection up ahead.  In finding the Plaintiff fully at fault and dismissing the claim Madam Justice Baker provided the following reasons:

[53]         Having considered these and other matters relevant to credibility, and taking into account the testimony of Mr. Tupper, which supports the testimony of Mr. Youngson, I conclude that I must and do prefer the evidence of Mr. Youngson about the circumstances of the accident.  I conclude that Mr. Youngson has provided an explanation for the collision − the sudden and unexpected lane change made by Mr. Bingul − that negatives the prima facie assumption of liability on the following driver.

[54]         I am unable to conclude that anything done or not done by Mr. Youngson constituted negligence that caused or contributed to the collision.  Mr. Youngson testified that as he was approaching the intersection with Clark Drive he anticipated having to bring his vehicle to a stop for a red light.  He braked and down-shifted and reduced his speed to 30 to 35 kph as he approached the intersection.  He testified that had Mr. Bingul not suddenly moved into his lane ahead of him, he would have able to bring his vehicle to a complete stop at or before the stop line, but that Mr. Bingul’s move reduced his stopping distance to an unsafe degree.

[55]         Mr. Bingul was aware that there was a large and heavy vehicle in the lane.  I conclude that it was solely Mr. Bingul’s sudden and negligent move into the lane of travel of Mr. Youngson’s large and heavy vehicle that created the risk of collision and resulted in the accident.

[56]         I therefore dismiss the plaintiff’s claims against all defendants.

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