Beverly Park drowned on Aug. 13, 2016 after her leg was sucked into a drainage pipe in Dawson Creek’s Rotary Lake. Her parents Todd and Brandie are now suing the park operators, the city and province. (Todd Park Facebook photo)

B.C. parents sue city and province in 12-year-old daughter’s drowning at lake

Beverly Park drowned at Rotary Lake in Dawson Creek in August 2016

The parents of a 12-year-old girl who died after her leg was sucked into a drainage pipe at a man-made lake in northeastern B.C. are hoping their lawsuit against the city and others will lead to legislative changes.

Todd and Brandie Park are suing the operators of Mile 0 Park, the City of Dawson Creek and the province, claiming their daughter Beverly’s death could have been “easily prevented by putting in two bolts in a drain cap.”

Beverly was playing with friends at Rotary Lake on Aug. 13, 2016. According to the coroner’s report, the children were able to remove bolts that were holding a cover over a drainage pipe at the bottom of the lake, which was formerly designated as a pool. The cover subsequently came off, and Beverly’s leg was sucked into the pipe and trapped. As a result, her head was underwater.

On Wednesday, Todd told Black Press Media in an interview that Brandie and two bystanders had tried to pull Beverly loose, but were not successful until an attendant could be found to shut off the pump.

“She was sealed so tightly that three adults pulling on her could not get her out of that drain,” he said, adding that he was not there that day because he was doing safety training for a construction company. “My daughter in the meantime is being sucked into a drain because two bolts were not put in there.”

He believes the coroner’s report was wrong about the children removing bolts from the drainage pipe cover.

“That lid hasn’t been bolted down for years,” said Todd, suggesting it would be easier to clean.

As a construction safety officer, he said he has a unique outlook on the situation.

“If this ever happened out in the field … this thing would have had a whole different course of action.”

READ MORE: Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

According to the coroner’s report, first responders resuscitated Beverly after the pump was shut off and took her to a medical facility for treatment. But diagnostic testing would identify significant brain injury because of the lack of oxygen, and three days later, the girl was declared brain dead.

After Beverly’s death, the coroner identified a number of health hazards at the lake, including but not limited to inadequate fencing, no supervision, poor water clarity, inadequate safety and first aid equipment, as well as a single main drain that created a suction hazard.

A photo of Rotary Lake posted to social media when the lake was open, in 2015. (Mile 0 Park and Campground Facebook photo)

Northern Health issued an order under the Public Health Act that closed the lake, while an engineering assessment made recommendations to be carried out before it can reopen.

According to the public health provider, several of the hazards identified after Beverly’s death had been identified by public health inspectors before, as early as 1968.

READ MORE: Plane-tragedy similarities ‘fall on deaf ears,’ victims’ parents say

Beverly’s parents believe there should be higher consequences for the death of their daughter.

Lawyer Elizabeth Duerr told Black Press Media that her clients want Rotary Lake to be designated as a public pool again because pools require higher safety standards.

Duerr also hopes the lawsuit brings the B.C. Family Compensation Act in line with other law in Canada on wrongful deaths of children. The province allows for lawsuits to be brought, but she said they don’t offer the same compensation.

“Under the present legislation, the loss of dependants such as children, seniors and the disabled is legally deemed to be of no value compared to parents and other money-earners in B.C. families,” she said in an email. “This is morally reprehensible and not in line with legislation in other provinces.”

After filing an amended notice of civil claim on Oct. 7, Duerr and her clients are now waiting for the defense to file a response to their civil claim.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In the meantime, Todd said he thinks of his daughter every day.

“People say things are going to get better, but it doesn’t,” he said, adding that he wonders what she would be doing if she were alive. “Instead I stare at a picture and talk to it.”

In 1994, a five-year-old girl also drowned at the lake, which the chief environmental health officer at the time attributed to the murkiness of the water and overcrowded conditions.



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

This year’s Smile Cookie campaign vastly exceeds expectations

‘It blew everything we expected to do out of the water’

New Ashcroft water treatment plant is up and running

A grand opening and public tours are planned for Nov. 19

Suspect wanted for crimes in Kamloops, Merritt, Kelowna

Public asked to be on lookout for a burgundy Dodge Ram D-150 pickup

Proposed new Ashcroft-Cache Creek Golf Society in the works

‘We’re trying to get a plan in place’

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference draws fire over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read