Driver loses claim against Vancouver for potholes that reportedly led to thousands of dollars in damage

Crews repair a pothole in this undated image. (Shutterstock)

The City of Vancouver won't have to pay a driver thousands of dollars he tried to seek after his car was reportedly damaged by potholes, a recent B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision says.

According to the decision published last week, Ray Janne Calinisan says the damage happened as he was driving his 2015 Audi S4 in the evening of Oct. 11, 2020. Calinisan says it was dark and raining at the time and he drove over "large potholes with sharp edges that immediately punctured both driver's side tires."

Tribunal member Richard McAndrew's decision says Calinisan sought $4,999 for damage to his tires and car, for loss of use of the car, inspection fees, towing expenses and insurance.

In its response to the claim, the city says it wasn't negligent and the responsibility of the road's condition lay with Pedre Contractors Ltd., which was performing sewer maintenance in the area.

The city also says its policy is to "address roadway defects on a reactive basis" when reported, rather than to perform routine inspections of roads. The city hadn't received any reports about the potholes or any other roadway defects in that area until this incident.

"It is undisputed that Vancouver was not notified of the potholes before the incident," McAndrew's decision says. "So, I find that Mr. Calinisan has not proved that Vancouver was negligent in implementing its complaint-based policy for repairing potholes."

Calinisan also claimed the city was required to supervise Pedre's work, but McAndrew says Vancouver had a minimal relationship with the company because it was working as an independent contractor hired by another group.

"There is no evidence before me showing that Vancouver was involved with Pedre's sewer maintenance work," McAndrew's decision says.

"Although Pedre's work involved a roadway, I find that the evidence does not establish that this work was inherently dangerous or that Vancouver had a statutory duty to maintain the roadway."

All of Calinisan's claims were dismissed.

Road users can report potholes online or by calling 311. The city says most potholes are repaired within 48 hours.