UPDATE: Waterway houseboats goes into receivership after lawsuit against province - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Waterway houseboats goes into receivership after lawsuit against province

June 11, 2019 - 9:24 AM

SICAMOUS - Sicamous houseboat company, Waterway, went into receivership today, June 11, on the heels of a high profile lawsuit.

"As many of you will be aware, Waterway has been a part of the fabric this community for over 50 years. As you may also be aware, Waterway suffered a devastating flood in 2012, and since that time, the Waterway team has done an exceptional job in a very difficult situation, keeping the company operating and even growing," reads a statement from Waterways Houseboats Ltd. and Vinco Holdings Ltd.

"We celebrated our 50th anniversary last year with a sense of optimism and pride in what we 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."

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

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  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.

"Our Bank, CIBC, had been supportive of this process and we believed they would carry us through to the end of the process. However, given the relatively small amount of the judgment, CIBC appears to have given up on the process," reads the statement.

Late Tuesday, a representative from CIBC, Waterway's bank, said they were unable to comment.

Waterway, however,  sent out an email 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."

It's unclear what the next steps will be.

"While it will be up to the receiver whether they continue to operate the business of the Waterway or shut down operations, our understanding, based on recent discussions, is that the bank's receiver will likely not operate the business of Waterway," reads the statement. "Up until a few days ago, we were very optimistic that in the event that CIBC decided to appoint a receiver, the receiver would operate the business at least through to the end of the 2019 sailing season to preserve Waterway's value."

The company statement says they no longer have the working capital to operate the business so without the bank's support to fund the operations of Waterway, they cannot realistically oppose the receivership application.

"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."

"Waterway will work cooperatively with the receiver to facilitate a smooth transition to the extent practicable. They also intend to explore the alternatives with respect to the appeal of the judgment. There may still be a substantially recovery there and we're advised that if the Bank won't fund that appeal, there may be methods for us to take that over."

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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