Court decision prompts CSRD 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 BC (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

Year-round training envisioned for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base

Mayor hopes council’s support of Rapattack will pay off in longevity for base

Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Boil water notice rescinded for Yard Creek Campground

Interior Health water testing shows acceptable levels of bacteria

Man jailed for fraud involving North Shuswap credit card thefts

Salmon Arm area man pleads guilty to six counts of fraud under $5,000.

One sent to hospital following Balmoral Road/Highway 1 collision

Violation ticket issued in second crash at Balmoral intersection in two weeks

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

In photo: Mount Ida Painters Guild’s works on display

Eleven artists featured in show at Senior Citizens Drop-in Centre, Aug. 23 and 24

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Civil claim filed over motocross track west of Summerland

Track was constructed on agricultural land around 2016

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Most Read