Open letter to Shuswap MLA George Abbott:
Wow! We certainly have had an interesting time this year.
I live at Two Mile in the District of Sicamous, and this is what the governments are fighting about.
The alluvial fan that we know as Two Mile has been forming for thousands of years. “The event” is a classic avulsion. In sedimentary geology and fluvial geomorphology, avulsion is the rapid abandonment of a river channel, and the formation of a new river channel.
Avulsions occur as a result of channel slopes that are much lower than the slope that the river could travel if it took a new course.
The cause is the amount of material up top that produces a debris flow.
There is a millennium of material (loose gravel and boulders) remaining that will continue to slough off the mountain(s), racing towards civilization, carrying with it anything it can gather, i.e. 100-foot cedars, homes, cars and, yes, even people.
Until such time as the engineers can mitigate the material, we will have to endure events such as the 1997 and 2012 debris flows. All the armouring in the world will not save the homes and people in the wake of this natural force.
What needs to happen right now is the determination of who is responsible for the destruction.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is trying to wiggle out of any more work. Their consulting engineering firm, who was presented at the last town meeting, may very well have presented something that is questionable.
It is not the responsibility of the land owner or the district affected by the destructive force of the creek’s owner (Crown land), to maintain the repairs. The aquatic land owner who caused the destruction is responsible for the cleanup and the continuing maintenance, so that this does not happen again.
We now have a standoff between the provincial government and the District of Sicamous. Each party is pointing their fingers at the other. No one wants to take the responsibility because once one party caves in and takes that step, they will also be assuming the liability.
And so we have a “he who blinks first loses” scenario.
And so we, the people of Two Mile, are the pawns in this war game between the chiefs and the lords.
The banks of the creek are sifting into the empty creek bed as we speak. Imagine what it will be like once the waters are unleashed. Flag people: continue to stand century over the Bailey Bridge, 24/7.
Time gentlemen, time.