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)

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson’s REDress Project exhibit vandalized

The REDress Project brings attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women

School District 20 is advising the public there has been a positive case of COVID-19 at the Trail high school. Photo: Trail Times
COVID exposures at three West Kootenay schools

Three West Kootenay schools have students in isolation

Dr. Katherine Oldfield is a naturopathic physician, mother, and active member of the Nelson-West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: Restore our Earth, restore our health

Katherine Oldfield marks Earth Day by writing about the priorities we need to have

Air Canada will not be resuming flight to Castlegar anytime soon. Photo: Betsy Kline
Service to West Kootenay Regional Airport not included in Air Canada deal announcement

Air Canada will not be resuming flights to Castlegar at this time

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A nurse loads a syringe with a vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout not enough to bring back normal life by fall: report

Only 51% of the population will be protected under B.C.’s current rollout, SFU professors say more vaccinations are needed to achieve herd immunity

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Balsamroot, pictured here, can be found on Sunflower Hill in the Kimberley Nature Park, Eager Hill, Wycliffe Buttes, and many other areas across the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Paul Rodgers file)
Spring’s yearly spectacle of balsamroot

Ever year in May, balsamroot emerges for a brief showy period

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Most Read