Havoc on Highway 97 could have been avoided if proper drainage was in place, a North Okanagan hotel said.
The Castle at Swan Lake was draining its pool Wednesday morning when its catch basin failed and water poured over the embankment. The water flowed down Greenhow Road and then onto Highway 97, where it froze, causing several accidents.
“If we had a ditch that water would never go out onto that road,” Castle manager Jacqueline Brooks said.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirms the ditches are its responsibility, but said there are no ditches at that location.
“A ditch is not required based on the needs of our infrastructure,” the ministry said.
Yet Castle management said there used to be a ditch in place, but the ditch was filled in a year ago while work was being done.
“However there’s a ditch all the way down to the driveway except where whoever did the work on the road has buried the ditch in. So the water runs down the road,” Brooks said.
In fact, there is a large ditch and drainage at the neighbouring property, Atlantis Waterslides.
“There are very deep ditches with deep culverts,” Brooks said.
The ministry insists its infrastructure is not supposed to handle private discharge.
“The ministry does not design or maintain our ditches to accept water from private businesses, nor are private businesses permitted to drain water onto our infrastructure.”
This was the first time in the last five years that the Castle has had an issue draining its pool. And like this system failure, Brooks questions what might happen during spring runoff season or if another type of failure takes place.
“We could have a water break, we could have a flash flood, we live on a hill,” she said. “What happens when we have a mechanical failure, which is what happened?”