Court decision prompts regional district to throw flood mitigation back at province

Public safety minister maintains Newsome Creek concerns in hands of local government

A recent lawsuit involving the District of Sicamous further’s the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s argument that the province should be responsible for funding and conducting works to mitigate erosion along the banks of Newsome Creek.

A handful of properties are threatened by eroding creek banks caused by the stream changing its course during the heavy freshets of 2017 and 2018. The creek runs through the community of Sorrento and the most seriously at risk properties are along Caen Road.

Since 2017, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District has made several requests to the provincial government hoping for help with stabilizing the creek walls. Provincial staff have stressed that it is the local government’s responsibility to seek funding for mitigation work through Emergency Management B.C. (EMBC) and other programs.

Read More: Shuswap trails benefit from $100,000 grant

Read More: Waterway Houseboats wins $2 million for damages caused in 2012 flood

Replying to a March 28 letter from CSRD chair Rhona Martin, Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, stated the Newsome Creek situation is unfortunate, but provincial legislation places flood hazard management, including erosion along streams, in the hands of local governments and that local governments are responsible for applying for funding to mitigate the hazard. He also states individuals have a responsibility to protect their properties.

Farnworth’s letter states the EMBC had remained engaged on the issue of erosion at Newsome Creek, providing funding for regular monitoring of the erosion and that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to replace six culverts along Newsome Creek before the spring of 2020.

The response to the ministry from the CSRD referenced a recent court decision which found the District of Sicamous partially liable after flood mitigation work they participated in that contributed to a subsequent flood severely damaging a businesses’ property.

Read More: Reasons why Salmon Arm officers cleared in shooting explained

Read More: New bylaw: No panhandling allowed within 15 metres of some businesses

In his letter to the ministry, the CSRD’s chief administration officer Charles Hamilton used the court case as an example of why local governments are uneasy about stepping into matters of flood mitigation. Hamilton quoted from the judges ruling in the Sicamous court case stating:

“The water act is strict. The province has complete control over the use of water and over any changes to streams, stream beds or bridges spanning streams. That authority is granted to the province for good reason.”

In his reply to the ministry, Hamilton questioned whether the regional district has the authority to levy a tax collecting the necessary funds in order to undertake erosion mitigation work. He also raised questions of fairness about the regional district spending public funds protecting a small area.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

Okanagan-shot film “The Colour Rose” wins two cinematography awards

Locations in the Okanagan were used such as; The Casorso residence, BNA, Father Pandosy, Venture Academy and Idabel Lake Resort

Kelowna Rockets Alumni Leon Draisaitl crowned NHL scoring champ

Draisaitl captures the Art Ross Trophy with 110 points in 71 games played

Impaired drivers kept Kelowna RCMP busy last weekend

Twenty-nine separate driving prohibitions were issued by local cops over the weekend

Kelowna Museum Society documents local history during COVID-19

KMS inviting the general public to be involved in documenting COVID-19’s impact on Kelowna

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Penticton may soon allow drinking alcohol in some public places

Trying to inconspicuously drink on the beach could become a thing of the past

VIDEO: Flowers stolen from Vernon distillery

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery captured surveillance footage of the thief in a black car

Most Read