Making a Claim

Making a Claim

If you believe your property has been damaged because of work done by the City of Port Alberni and you wish to make a claim against the City, you may do so by written notice and by completing a City of Port Alberni Claim Form.

Please note that your right to make a claim is time limited. Your written notice must be provided within two months from the date on which the damage was sustained and should include the following information:

  • your name, home address and telephone numbers where you can be reached during the day;
  • what was damaged;
  • how the damage occurred;
  • where the damage occurred, being as specific as possible;
  • the date and time of the incident; and
  • name(s) of anyone else involved, including contractors, equipment operators, etc. and their contact information if available. 

Any photographs you take may be included with your submission, or provided at a later date. Please include all original invoices and bills of sale, and retain damaged property for possible future inspection.

City of Port Alberni Claim Form

You may submit your claim by mail to:

City of Port Alberni
Attention: City Clerk’s Office
4850 Argyle Street
Port Alberni, B.C.  V9Y 1V8

Have a question? Email your City Clerk at: davina_hartwell@portalberni.ca

Claims Process

You will receive written acknowledgement of your claim submission. The Public Works Department will then conduct an investigation into the claim. Once all the information generated by the department has been reviewed, a decision regarding compensation will be made. You will be advised of this decision as soon as possible. Please note that it may take several weeks to conduct a thorough investigation. Payment of a claim is dependent on legal liability on the part of the City. For more information, please see 'Types of Losses' below.

Claims Settlement

A submission of a claim does not constitute acceptance of liability on the part of the City. Payment of a claim will require that the City be found legally liable for the damages that you have incurred. Claims will be investigated, without prejudice, based on the facts as they present themselves and under standard legal practices and principles. Please also note that the City will not pay claims based on estimates or anticipated costs. In the event that the City is legally responsible for damages that you may have incurred, the City will require paid invoices be submitted before any payment for damages will be made.

The City is committed to settlements that are fair and reasonable and within standard industry and legal practice. You can expect to be treated with respect and in a professional manner, and City staff should expect the same in return. 

Although you may not always get the answer you desire, the City will provide the basis for its position and do its best to explain the rationale behind the decisions it makes regarding claims.

Appeal Process

Should you wish to appeal a decision that the City has made concerning your claim, you may do so through the Provincial Court of B.C or Supreme Court of B.C. The Mayor and/or Council do not entertain appeals on claim-related matters.  

Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Provider

Notify your insurance company of the damage. Your insurance policy may provide coverage for your damage, and this may be the quickest way to recover costs and have the repairs done. Your insurance company can then pursue any party they believe to be responsible for the damage.

Types of Losses

Construction Projects

What should I do if I suffered injury or property damage as a result of construction being undertaken by the City? Write down the details of when and how the damage occurred as well as who was doing the construction work. The City requires that all contractors carry insurance.

Should I call my insurance company? Yes. Your insurance policy may provide coverage for your damages and your insurer may take steps to pursue recovery from parties it believes to be responsible.

Should I contact the City? If you intend to make a claim for compensation against the City, you need to notify us in writing. Your right to make a claim is time limited as you must provide written notice within two months from the date of the incident (Section 736 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1).

Potholes and Road Hazards

My vehicle is damaged, what should I do? Do not continue to drive if the vehicle is not operating properly. 

Should I call my insurance company? Yes. Notify your auto insurer as your policy may provide you coverage and the quickest way to have repairs made.

Should I contact the City? Yes. If you observe a problem with city streets, sewer or water systems, contact us at 250.720.2840.  Please have an address, contact information, and a description of the problem ready. You can also submit using the City's 'Report a Problem' platform. For after-hours emergencies please call 250.724.1351.  A reminder that water leaks and sewer blockages on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

Will the City pay for my damage? The law in British Columbia does not make a municipality, including the City of Port Alberni, legally responsible to ensure that its roads are always free of defects or hazards, such as potholes. Additionally, your right to make a claim against a municipality is time limited and you must provide written notice of a claim within two months from the date on which the damage was sustained (Section 736 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1). 

Sewer Back-up

How should I deal with a sewer back-up? For your own safety, be aware of electrical hazards. If possible, move your property or home contents to prevent further damage. Keep the damaged property for possible future inspection. If the service is plugged, the homeowner will often require the services of a plumbing professional to clear the system.

Should I call my insurance company? Yes. Insurance policies typically carry sewer back-up coverage and this may be the quickest way to get repairs made.  Please refer to your homeowner’s insurance policy or contact your insurance broker and/or home insurer.

Should I contact the City? Please be aware that property owners are responsible for all sanitary, sewer and drainage pipes located on their side of the property line. If it is determined that the source of the sewer back-up is located outside of your property and is on the City’s side, please contact us at 250.720.2840.  Please have an address, contact information, and a description of the problem ready. For after-hours emergencies please call 250.724.1351.  

Will the City pay for my damage? The law in British Columbia does not make a municipality, including the City of Port Alberni, legally responsible to ensure that its sewer systems never experience a breakdown or malfunction. Section 744 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1 provides that a municipality is not legally liable for damages that arise from a breakdown or malfunction of a sewer system. The municipality must be negligent in its maintenance of the system to be liable. The City cannot entertain claims for compensation in a case where there is an absence of negligence. Additionally, your right to make a claim against a municipality is time limited and you must provide written notice of a claim within two months from the date on which the damaged was sustained (Section 736 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1).

Water Main Breaks

How should I deal with a flood? If possible, move your property or home contents to prevent further damage.  For your own safety, be aware of electrical hazards while moving. Keep the damaged property for inspection by your insurance company.  

Should I call my insurance company? Yes. Insurance policies typically carry coverage for this type of loss and this may be the quickest way to have repairs made. Please refer to your homeowner’s insurance policy or contact your insurance broker and/or home insurer.

Should I contact the City? Please be aware that property owners are responsible for all the water pipes starting at the service valve near the property line.  If you discover a water leak coming from City property, please contact the City so that staff can be dispatched to the area and shut off that section of the water main to stop further damage. If you observe a problem with city streets, sewer or water systems, contact us at 250.720.2840.  Please have an address, contact information, and a description of the problem ready. For after-hours emergencies please call 250.724.1351.  A reminder that water leaks and sewer blockages on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

Will the City pay for my damage? The law in British Columbia does not make a municipality, including the City of Port Alberni, legally responsible to ensure that its water systems never experience a breakdown or malfunction. Section 744 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1 provides that a municipality is not legally liable for damages that arise from a breakdown or malfunction of a water system.  Additionally, your right to make a claim against a municipality is time limited and you must provide written notice of a claim within two months from the date on which the damage was sustained (Section 736 of the Local Government Act, R.S.B.C. 2015, c.1).

Damage from Trees

What should I do if I suffered injury or property damage as a result of a tree? If a tree or tree branches are resting on utility wires, contact the Port Alberni Fire Department (250.724.1351) or utility company for assistance. Do not attempt to dislodge or remove the tree or tree branches on your own. Write down the details of when and how the damage occurred.

Should I call my insurance company? Yes. Contact your insurance company immediately and report any damage to your property.  Your insurance policy may provide coverage for your damages and your insurer may take steps to pursue recovery from parties it believes to be responsible.

Who is responsible for damage caused by trees? Responsibility depends in part on whose property the tree was located and whether or not the property owner knew, or should have known, that the tree was likely to fail or cause damage. You should inform the property owner, whether it be a private person or entity or local government, who will report the damage to their insurer and assess responsibility.

Should I contact the City? If you observe a problem tree located on public (city-owned) property, contact us at 250.720.2840.  Please have an address, contact information, and a description of the problem ready. For after-hours emergencies please call 250.724.1351.

For more information, please contact
Davina Hartwell
City Clerk

City Hall, 4850 Argyle Street
Port Alberni BC V9Y 1V8

Telephone: 
250-720-2810
Mobile: 250-731-6101