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

Just Posted

“Princeton won’t be the same without him, that’s what they say.”

A celebration of life held in the town square, possibly with a… Continue reading

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

Man cycles across B.C. Interior for sobriety

Vancouver Island Resident Mat Fee is approaching the final phase of his cross-Canada bike journey to raise awareness about addiction recovery.

Twenty day search for missing Labradoodle ends with tears of joy

After twenty days of worry, thousands of kilometers driven, hundreds of social… Continue reading

‘It’s almost surreal’: Penticton fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

North Okanagan’s own CSI digging into crime mysteries

Forensic Identification Section a specialized support unit used in various cases

Most Read