Boat owner wins claim over explosion debacle at Salmon Arm marina | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Boat owner wins claim over explosion debacle at Salmon Arm marina

FILE PHOTO - A large plume of smoke is visible from an explosion at Captain’s Cove Marina in Salmon Arm, July 27, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Sarah J B Johnston
February 22, 2021 - 7:32 AM

A Shuswap boat owner accused of interfering while emergency crews dealt with an explosion at a Salmon Arm boat marina last year, has won a small claims court case after the marina cancelled his contract because of his behaviour.

According to a Feb. 18, Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, Captain's Cove Marina cancelled Philip Briddon's moorage contract two days after the explosion that took place in July 2020.

While not mentioned in the court decision, Salmon Arm fire crews reported at the time that gasoline vapour had caused the explosion at Captain's Cove Marina and that five boats had been fully engulfed with flames. One boat owner suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the explosion and was taken to hospital.

According to the decision, Captain's Cove said Briddon was at the marina and repeatedly asked when he could retrieve his boat.

"Ignoring the presence of ambulances, fire trucks, flames and a 'closed' sign on its gate … Briddon was in direct interference with the efforts of emergency personnel and staff," Captain's Cove says in the decision.

Briddon denies the allegation and says he didn't approach anyone during the fire and left when asked to do so. He says he was only there for a few minutes.

While both parties disagree on what took place, neither party disputes that Briddon had paid $3,265 for his boat to be moored at the marina where he had kept it for the last 15 years.

However, two days after the explosion Captain's Cove told Briddon his contract was terminated as a result of his conduct during the fire. Briddon moved his boat but the company refused any refund.

The marina said Briddon wouldn't get a refund because he had breached "multiple terms" of his contract agreement which included not engaging in "immoral or illegal activities" and that all money paid is non-refundable once it's been received by the marina in "good faith." The company said the terms and conditions were posted at the marina and online.

Briddon then took Captain's Cove to the small claims court arguing for a refund.

But Captain's Cove filed a counterclaim arguing it is Briddon who owes them money for a "transient rate" of $3.50 per foot per day to a total of $2,636. The company also argues Briddon owes them $209 for a "summer service" an extra $288 for "emergency interruption" and $435 for "summer storage."

However, the Tribunal was not convinced.

"Captain’s Cove submitted no evidence in support of its claims, despite having the opportunity to do so," the decision reads.

"Briddon’s account that he left when asked and was there no more than four minutes is the only direct account of what happened that day," the Tribunal said. "I find Captain’s Cove’s evidence about Mr. Briddon’s conduct during the July 27, 2020 incident lacking in detail... there is no statement from any Captain’s Cove staff member about the events."

The company didn't fare any better when it came to the contract either.

"I find Captain’s Cove has not demonstrated that the terms and conditions are posted on the marina grounds, which it might have done with a photograph or a witness statement," reads the decision. "Captain’s Cove did not provide a copy of the website’s alleged terms and conditions, such as a screenshot, or even a link, in evidence."

The Tribunal also dismissed the counterclaim from the marina that Briddon had to pay a $3.50 per foot per day charge.

"The undisputed invoice says Mr. Briddon paid for year-round mooring. Captain’s Cove’s failure to execute a written contract when it provided the invoice does not give it the right to impose a different rate," the decision says.

Captain's Cove's claims for the summer service, emergency interruption, and summer storage also fall flat.

"I find neither claim is supported by any evidence whatsoever," the Tribunal ruled.

Ultimately, the Tribunal orders Captain's Cove to refund Briddon for eight months moorage to the tune of $2,177 plus $180 in fees and interest, but not the full $3,265 refund he had asked for.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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