One Spallumcheen councillor is adamant he wants someone from the Fortune Creek Drainage and Diking District (FCDDD) to go along with a provincial engineer when an assessment of the district is done.
Coun. Todd York was responding to a letter from Forests Minister Steve Thomson outlining the transfer of assets and responsibilities of the FCDDD to the township by the end of 2012.
In his letter to the township, Thomson said, “the transfer of dike and drainage assets and responsibilities to local governments will provide opportunities to improve flood protection for the affected parties.”
He said, “the benefits and costs of options to upgrade the flood protection will be part of a review,” and that the ministry is “recruiting a professional engineer to lead the transfer process.”
“The people who run the diking district have the right to be able to tell the engineer what they think is wrong in the longterm, and what’s wrong upstream,” said York, angered by the letter.
“What are the drainage assets? The district has made applications to the province before and never received anything from the province to maintain it. The fear of the district is the province is going to come in, say what’s wrong and then tell them to fix it.”
The township was alerted in February that it will be responsible for bringing the FCDDD up to the code of the Drainage, Ditch and Dike act, and that the assets are to be transferred into Spallumcheen’s name by the end of the year.
“The problem is the residents of Fortune Creek can’t get into the creek to do the work they need to build up the dike to where it needs to be because the Department of Fisheries and Oceans won’t let them into the creek at all,” said Coun. Christine Fraser.
The province has promised funding to do an assessment of the FCDDD.
Thomson’s letter was written and received before Mayor Janice Brown and Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven met in person with Thomson, and after getting MLA George Abbott and MP Colin Mayes on board with the problem.
“We told the minister we’re not a drainage and diking district that should be in the act,” said Brown, who said the assessment of the FCDDD would be done in the next two months.
She also said it’s important to let the engineer know that the Fortune Creek district is not the same as districts on the coast in that it goes for miles and is not contained in one small parcel.
“Minister Thomson indicated he wanted to help us get a resolution rather than put this off,” said Van Tienhoven.
There are 45 properties on the FCDDD with no access to equipment to bring the dike up to code.