UPDATE: Waterway houseboat vacationers worried they will never see their money, company put into receivership - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Waterway houseboat vacationers worried they will never see their money, company put into receivership

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
June 11, 2019 - 3:00 PM

SICAMOUS - Two weeks ago Daniel Stewart paid in full for his July vacation on Waterway Houseboats in Sicamous.

“With the deposit and everything it was $7,650 and I paid in cash,” he said.

He’d been looking forward to the mini break for the last eight months and, because he’d gone on a Waterway vacation in the past, he expected nothing but smooth sailing. He didn’t even mind that they wanted payment so far in advance.

Then at around 5 p.m., June 10, he like all other clients of the houseboat company who booked a trip for the months ahead, got an email saying that Waterway was expecting to go into receivership at some point on June 11.

“I called them about five times, and emailed them twice last night,” he said. He looked into it some more and realized not only had this trip tanked, his dollars are in limbo.

“A friend of mine also has a trip booked, but they paid through VISA so they’ll get their money back,” he said, adding that they had already started the process to recoup the loss.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s crazy to me they knew something was in the works with the courts and the fact they didn’t give anyone any notice — it’s frustrating.”

Given that it was only a couple of weeks ago, Stewart said he thinks the company was being dishonest in continuing to pursue full payment on a trip they must have known would never happen.

“They could have forewarned people, they could have said, 'there’s a possibility we will go under and here are our court dates,’” he said.

Stewart pointed out that for some people it will be a major setback.

“It puts people in a (terrible) situation,” he said.

Since the story on Waterway was published this morning, three others have contacted iNFOnews with the same issue, though didn’t want their names included in this story.

One caller said his concerns were focused on why he wasn’t told that this was a high risk deposit, considering the court decision that this was all hinged on came in April. He had messages asking for further payment as recently as 10 days ago.

Another pointed out that they’ve used Waterway for three vacations and all were exemplary. Being out $6,000-plus and without any ability to reach the company for comment was frustrating and confusing.

Multiple calls to Waterway were not answered and the voicemail box is currently full.

CIBC, Waterway's bank, said they are unable to comment.

Waterway sent out an email late Tuesday afternoon, noting that a receiver had been appointed and the "debtors have ceased operating."

"The Supreme Court of British Columbia granted an Order appointing Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc. as receiver without security, of all or any of the assets, undertakings and property of Vinco Holdings Ltd. and Waterway Houseboats Ltd. (the debtors) aquired for, or used in relation to a business carried on by the debtors, coming on for hearing this day at Vancouver, British Columbia."

In the statement sent out Monday, Waterway said they celebrated their 50th anniversary last year with a sense of optimism and pride in what they had accomplished.

"The devastating flood that occurred in 2012 put us on our heels but with the help of very able legal counsel we pursued an action in damages against the Province, the District of Sicamous and the neighbouring landowners whose bridge was instrumental in damaging our property. After a 61 day trial, the BC Supreme Court issued its judgment on April 16."

The company sought $10 million in damages, but only were awarded $2.3 million in the judgment.

The thrust of their case against the province, the District of Sicamous and some area residents, was that a replacement bridge built after a 1997 flood was built too low. During the 2012 flood, a truck was swept into the creek, eventually slamming into the bridge. A bottleneck was created and water and debris flowed over the creek’s banks and massive damage occurred.

The company statement says there are clear errors in judgment regarding the amount of the award and pursuing a change in the court's decision could take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, the province is counter appealing.

"We know that this unfortunate series of events will be devastating for our employees, our customers and our suppliers," reads the statement. "It is devastating for us as well, as we have lost a life's work. We are hopeful that the assets of Waterway will realize a substantial value so that at least some of the losses can be recouped."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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