CSRD board pans flood response ‘downloading’

They say yes, but we say no. That is the reaction Columbia Shuswap Regional District board members had

Rhona Martin

They say yes, but we say no.

That is the reaction Columbia Shuswap Regional District board members had to a provincial discussion paper that proposes to download flood response to regional districts.

The regional district agreed with some housekeeping items contained in an emergency management report but called foul on the province putting local authorities in charge of emergencies such as floods.

CSRD received the paper on Jan. 19 and, with a one-month consultation period, worked with its solicitor, other local governments and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to draft a response.

“In situations of wildfire, the province is quick to take on the role of site command and liaise with the Emergency Operations Centre and provide necessary support to their field operations in order to protect trees and property,” wrote CSRD operations manager Darcy Mooney in his report to the board, noting somehow the province believes local authorities know better in the case of floods, even those that take place in remote areas.

“There is a certain degree of irony with this as typically floods and debris flows impact critical provincial assets such as provincially owned roads and bridges.”

CSRD, he added, has no technical expertise, operational equipment, jurisdiction or funding mechanism to support assessing or responding to such emergencies.

“The  province has no trouble in responding to wildfires and we figure they should have the same level of support for flooding,” he said, noting the province has extended the response deadline to April 19.

CSRD chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton told directors there is an important distinction to be made between municipalities and regional districts – municipalities have a responsibility for water courses within their jurisdictions.

“The code here is they want to get out of the flood business – ‘we don’t want it, you have it,’” Hamilton said. “Rivers run through Crown land and they have the benefits of that until something happens and then they want us to deal with it.”

Board chair and Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin was equally adamant that the province should not be downloading flood management responsibilities onto the regional district.

“If you leave any Shuswap municipality and drive 10 minutes, how many water bodies are you going to drive by,” she said. “We have had disasters that we would have been bankrupt if we’d had to deal with them.”

Hamilton convinced directors to defer writing a letter until the matter is brought forward at the March 18 board meeting in Salmon Arm.

“We’ve had this debate before and met with the solicitor general,” he said, noting the regional district has no service or infrastructure to deal with floods.

“These are mid-level staff telling us we’re responsible; they have a hidden agenda,” added Mooney, noting CSRD staff worked their way up the provincial government ladder as far as the deputy solicitor general and nobody could show where in the legislation regional districts are responsible for flooding. “We’re not set up like a municipality; we don’t have a works department –most regional districts in the province don’t have that – nor do we have the technical expertise.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Revelstoke has launched a community well-being survey. (Contributed)
City launches community well-being survey

Everyone residing in Revelstoke aged 12 and over is invited to complete it

BC Liberal incumbent Doug Clovechok is seeking re-election as MLA for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in the provincial election. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Get to know BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok

Clovechok talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet on the campaign trail in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap- Revelstoke Review)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet

Cherlet talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Columbia River-Revelstoke Green Party candidate Samson Boyer. (Contributed)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC Green Party candidate Samson Boyer

Boyer talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Most Read