Government blasted over Cooke Creek slide

Okanagan-Shuswap Resource District challenged over road maintenance and culvert design

A provincial agency is being linked to a major washout east of Enderby in 2014.

An investigation into the Cooke Creek Forest Service Road challenges the Okanagan-Shuswap Resource District’s road  maintenance and culvert design, as well as the response to public concerns.

“The board is concerned the district and B.C. Timber Sales did not  comply with legislation or their own risk management policies,  procedures and systems,” said Tim Ryan, Forest Practices Board chairperson.

“Improvements are also needed in training, management, record keeping and the way in which public concerns and complaints are recorded and acted upon.”

A public complaint was filed with the FPB after two culverts at the mouth of Dale Lake failed and sections of the road were washed out in a debris flood in May 2014. The complainant said that he raised concerns with district staff about the condition of the culverts, but they were not heeded.

“The investigation found that the district cleaned out a culvert in response to one concern, but did not respond to the complainant’s concerns on two other occasions,” said Ryan.

“This lack of response was not adequate.”

Ryan says BCTS did not inspect or maintain the road between 2006 and 2014, although Ministry of Forests’ policy required annual inspections during that period.

He added that in 2007, the district installed a culvert that was too small to withstand a 100-year flood, which is a requirement of the Forest Practices Act.

“The board is recommending that BCTS and the district advise within 30  days of how it will avoid similar road design and maintenance issues in  the future.”

The Cooke Creek flood washed out Mabel Lake Road and cut off access to the Kingfisher community for several days.