Flooding roles clarified

Role confusion cleaned up for dealing with floods, following muddied waters of last spring's floods

Following the muddied waters of last spring’s floods, the North Okanagan is cleaning up some role confusion in preparation for the 2013 flood season.

The North Okanagan Emergency Management has set out a policy and flood response matrix to help clarify roles and guide local governments.

“It speaks to what we will do but it also speaks clearly as to what we won’t do,” said Michael Stamhuis, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer.

The matrix shows that the provincial government, local authority and public each share varying roles.

For example, sandbags are supplied by the province, while the local authority supplies the sand and distributes bags and property owners are responsible for sandbagging and protecting their own property. Meanwhile mitigative work (dykes, bank protection, diversions) in a riparian zone are provincial responsibilities, but is an owner’s responsibility through private property (under provincial and federal authority).

There are other varying roles for preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

NOEM participated in extensive flood response last spring, but Stamhuis explains that it is not necessarily equipped to handle as much as it did.

“The province, which normally steps in, in these situations, seems to be stepping away from that responsibility.”

The policy clarifies these roles.

Coldstream extends carbon cash

Funds achieved from Coldstream’s Carbon Neutral status could be shared regionally.

The district has nearly $15,000 in Climate Action Revenue, which may be extended to efforts made by local companies.

“We are meeting with Tolko next month and one of the things we want to discuss is the ability to invest in projects locally,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

To date, Coldstream has undertaken several initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.  One effort was the installation of solar panels on the old fire hall building.

Approximately $20,000 was spent on the solar panels, which produced 2.19 MWh of energy in 2012. That offset 3,328 lbs of carbon.

Arts Support

Coldstream’s mayor has signed on his support for a cultural hub in Greater Vernon.

The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre is seeking a provincial grant for technological upgrades, and Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick has penned his name in support of its efforts.

“They wanted a letter showing Coldstream supported it and that it was an integral part of the community,” said Garlick.

In his letter of support, Garlick states: “It is a fabulous facility where our citizens are exposed to a variety of great local, national and international performers.”


Vernon Morning Star