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Festival du Voyageur denies responsibility in Fort Gibraltar collapse

Fort Gibraltar

Festival du Voyageur has filed court documents saying it is not responsible for an accident at Fort Gibraltar last spring that injured 17 people, including one boy who required several surgeries and is at risk of having permanent disability.

The incident happened May 31, when an elevated walkway at the fort collapsed under the weight of a group from St. John's-Ravenscourt School who were visiting on a field trip.

In August, the parents of one of the children injured in the collapse filed a lawsuit against Festival du Voyageur and the City of Winnipeg. The lawsuit accuses the two defendants of negligence and allowing the walkway to become unsafe.

The lawsuit says the child fell approximately 20 feet to the ground, sustaining “significant” injuries, including a broken hip and a broken wrist, which required surgery.

In the claim, the parents of the child say their son will have to undergo further surgical procedures, and is “at risk of permanent disability.”

In legal documents filed at Court of King's Bench this week, the festival claims it was not negligent in maintaining the fort.

"The defendant the Festival du Voyageur Inc. denies the allegations made by the plaintiff in the statement of claim and denies that the plaintiff is entitled to the relief claimed…or any relief at all against this defendant," said a statement of defense filed Wednesday by John Martens and Alexandre Mireault of MLT Aikins LLP.

While the statement of defense admits to some of the allegations made in the lawsuit, it says the festival "took reasonable care and effort that the Fort was reasonably safe for visitors, including reasonable inspection and maintenance protocols in cooperation with the city."

The festival also said it's not responsible for any negligence of inspection and maintenance that may have taken place at the Fort Gibraltar site, as it is owned by the City of Winnipeg.

The city has not yet filed a statement of defense. The festival is asking court to throw out the lawsuit and award costs.

The festival received a $50,000 grant from the province last week to help secure the fort, which has been closed since the incident. The festival said it plans to tear down the walkway. Top Stories

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