SD46 sues over playing field contamination

School District No. 46 (SD46) has filed a statement of claim against a contractor for an incident last year involving the alleged application of contaminated topsoil on playing fields in the district.

SD46 named Top Quality Top Soil as the defendant, claiming damages, costs and other relief.

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The claim alleges the company “breached the duty of care owed to the school board” by failing to “reasonably test or inspect the soil,” by ensuring “there were no debris or contaminants,” by failing to warn the school board about the contaminants in the soil, and by supplying “a defective product.”

None of the claims has been proven in court.

The school board hired Top Quality to supply approximately 50 truckloads of compost mixed with sand to be spread over seven of the district’s playing fields in August 2018, according to the claim, which says the company described its product as the “highest quality soil on the coast.”

The claim alleges that soon after the topsoil was applied, “large shards of metal, glass fragments, pieces of hard plastic, ceramic fragments, sulphur pellets, nails and wood, along with plastic bags and other garbage,” were discovered on the fields. The contaminants “rendered the fields unsafe” and the fields were closed.

The school board says it took more than 1,500 hours for the maintenance team to remove the debris. They were reopened during the last week of October, after an environmental assessment by an engineering firm found the fields safe for use.

The board says it demanded approximately $148,000 from Top Quality in January “for loss and damage” that included the cost to fix the soil and conduct an environmental assessment, loss of use of the fields for 35 school days, and legal expenses. No payment was received, the claim alleges.

The owner of the company declined to comment.

As of Nov. 8 a statement of defence had not been filed.

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