RMOW sued for fall in parking lot 

Municipality claims lots were 'reasonably' safe

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is being sued by a local health worker after she fell and broke her ankle while crossing one of the day-skier parking lots in 2008.

Deanne Zeidler, a part-time speech pathologist and part-time worker with the First Nations Education Steering Committee, filed a lawsuit against the municipality in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on October 15, 2010.

She said in a civil claim that on or about Oct. 28, 2008, at around 7 p.m., she sustained "serious injuries" while walking across day skier parking lot three and falling into an unmarked drainage ditch.

Civil suits for accidents must be filed within two years to the date of the incident.

The claim alleges negligence on the part of the municipality because there wasn't any, or adequate, lighting for the lot; the ditch wasn't adequately fenced off; the RMOW failed to ensure a reasonable degree of safety for her while she was in the lot; and that it acted with "reckless disregard" for her safety.

The claim states that Zeidler, the wife of Whistler Councillor Eckhard Zeidler, sustained physical injuries including a fractured left ankle along with soft tissue damage to that same ankle. The injuries have caused her to miss some work, the claim states, and continues to cause her "pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life."

She is seeking an award for non-pecuniary loss; loss of past and future income; loss of earning capacity; costs of past and future health care services provided to her, pursuant to special damages.

Zeidler is basing her claim on provisions of the Negligence Act and the Occupier's Liability Act.

Zeidler's lawyer, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, is not commenting on the case at this time.

While the municipality owns the day lots, Whistler Blackcomb has been contracted to carry out day-to-day operations, including tasks such as snow-clearing and traffic management.

Efforts to reach Whistler Blackcomb for comment were not successful.

The lots have undergone various upgrades since Zeidler's fall occurred. In 2009 upgrades included paving Day Lots 1 through 4, as well as the construction of stairs, lighting and improvements to storm water management.

The RMOW filed a response in B.C. Supreme Court on Nov. 18, 2010 denying all allegations.

In its response the RMOW states that its employees, servants or agents acted on policy decisions based on "financial, economic, social or political factors or constraints" with respect to the parking lot, including the lighting.

It goes on to deny that any of its employees, servants or agents acted in a negligent fashion, and that the parking lot was "reasonably safe" for the use of people on it, including the plaintiff.







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