Officials from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) and Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA) were planning to meet on Wednesday night (Dec. 12) before responding to a civil claim in which they have been named co-defendants.
Christopher Sanchez is suing the two organizations over injuries he suffered during a PVTA-sanctioned Toonie Ride taking place on SLRD land in June 2010, alleging negligence on the part of the defendants.
“We were served by Registered Mail on Nov. 19 and immediately forwarded the claim such that it is now in the hands of legal counsel, who will file and Statement of Defence in due course, pursuant to correspondence with the plaintiff’s counsel,” said Peter DeJong, SLRD director of administrative services, in an email. The SLRD declined further comment on the matter.
According to the claim, Sanchez was injured while riding on the Richochet Trail as part of a bi-weekly mountain bike outing organized by the PVTA when an “unmared teeter-totter structure” collapsed. He claims to have suffered multiple vertebra fractures, back pain, soft tissue injury to his neck and back, chronic pain and sleeplessness.
As a result, the plaintiff is seeking an award for loss of past and future income, loss of housekeeping capacity, cost of health care service, court costs and more. The total amount sought is not disclosed in the claim.
PVTA board member John Inglis said the association could not comment on the specifics of the case, but explained that the Richochet Trail starts near the SLRD offices on Aster Street.
“It’s just a little network of little trails that connect up around Snob Hill,” said Inglis. “There are a bunch of little stunty … manmade things that were put in there. A lot of them have been taken down.”
Inglis said the PVTA Toonie Rides had less of a race element to them than those seen in Whistler, with more of a social focus. He said 25 riders was usually the biggest turnout. Inglis added that there hasn’t been a PVTA Toonie Ride held since Sanchez was injured.
“That was the last one,” said Inglis.
Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is listed as solicitor for the plaintiff in the notice of claim, but the Whistler mayor said it will be another individual from her firm who will be representing Sanchez.