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

Gruesome details of Kelowna mother and daughters’ murder heard in court

Forman didn’t want his daughters to ‘grow up in a world where daddy had killed mommy’

Finished Kelowna Innovation Center partners up with Spaces

Kelowna’s Innovation Center concludes four years of construction

Haven Sleep Products to help deliver mattresses to Bahamas

Kelowna’s Haven Sleep Products and HGTV stars raise proceeds for helping those in need

City to upgrade water meters in Kelowna

A pilot program is being launched to upgrade aging water meters and metering equipment

BC Thanksgiving Food Drive returns to Central Okanagan

Residents are asked to consider donating on Sept. 21

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Facebook group forms committee against Thompson Nicola R.V. crackdown

Group discusses issues with regional R.V. bylaw at recent meeting

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

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

Okanagan inmate who allegedly assaulted prisoners and officer gets trial extension

Afshin Maleki Ighani appeared in Penticton Supreme Court on Monday

Get inspired and creative at this year’s Culture Days

Celebrate all things art, culture, and heritage

Most Read