A million dollars may not have been enough to tame Sicamous Creek.
Last week, excavators could be seen strategically stacking large rocks in specific areas along the creek, further enhancing previous restoration work done by the province following the June 23 debris flow. This was after the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP), in partnership with the District of Sicamous, established an emergency operations centre on May 9 so as to access $217,000 in provincial funding through Emergency Management B.C.
“By three o’clock, we were activating the emergency operations centre, not that there was any real need for a whole bunch of things to occur at that point, but when you activate the emergency operations centre you can tap into provincial money, and provincial funds are useful for situations like this when you don’t have to rely on District of Sicamous taxpayer dollars,” SEP co-ordinator Cliff Doherty explained last week in a presentation to council.
Doherty had been working with the district since May 8, after a meeting was requested by district operations manager Randy Hand in regard to the water level in the creek and the rainfall forecast. On the same day, a number of actions took place, including a helicopter flight over the creek.
“We had submissions going forward to the province for $50,000 to do some temporary emergency works because there were real fears that one side of Sicamous Creek… might be wearing away at the banks,” said Doherty.
Engineers were brought in and three projects were identified, totalling $217,000, with the most pressing estimated at $58,000. Discussions ensued as to whether the repairs would be temporary or permanent. The province eventually chose to approve the $58,000 “ to do those temporary works in Sicamous Creek to the benefit of the community.”
On May 15, a proposal for two other projects were submitted, but initially denied. Doherty said more information and “justification,” was required. On May 21, the proposal was re-submitted, and the province has since approved one of the two projects.
In trying to ascertain the delay in granting the second project, Doherty said he learned it was due to “political sensitivities between the province and the District of Sicamous regarding the previous armouring that was in the creek.”
“There’s still discussion underway there,” said Doherty. “And it just seemed to take a while for the province to respond. But they did today and the second project is underway as we speak.”
In a presentation made back in February to Swansea Point residents regarding proposed repairs for Hummingbird Creek, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure district manager Murray Tekano stated the province had spent about a $1 million to do Sicamous Creek.
Elaborating on the situation, Mayor Darrell Trouton said the district felt the riprap work done by the province didn’t go high enough in the areas of concern.
“It’s not that we’re expecting a flood-type of year or anything like we had last year,” said Trouton. “These are precautionary measures that we felt needed to be done… so good on the province to step up and thanks for all your work.”
Asked what “temporary” means with regard to the most recent work in the creek, Doherty said this is something to be determined between the province and district administrator Heidi Frank.