Regional Rundown: A great feat achieved by Fairmont

Last week the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board supported creating the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area.

Congratulations to the community of Fairmont Hot Springs.  Since the debris slide in July 2012 and, to a lesser extent, the flooding of both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek in 2013, the community, with the help of the RDEK, has taken the lead in being proactive in mitigating future flooding events.

Just last week, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board supported creating the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area. This gives the RDEK the ability to tax the properties in Fairmont Hot Springs, up to a maximum of .20 per $1,000 of assessed value per year. This would amount to $58 per year for a home valued at $300,000. The maximum the fund could raise in a single year is $50,000. The purpose of this fund is to work on debris flow mitigation in and around the creeks in Fairmont. It also provides funds for ongoing maintenance and operation. This would include inspecting, monitoring and reporting creek channel infrastructure status.

We would also have the ability to raise reserve funds so, if future events occur or other levels of government announce funding opportunities, we would have the ability to react.

Throughout the winter, the RDEK hosted open houses and had a survey to seek feedback on this proposal. The feedback received was overwhelmingly in support of this approach.

It was announced last week, that the federal and provincial governments have approved $311,552 in funding through the Building Canada Fund Communities Component Flood Protection Program for the RDEK’s Fairmont Creek Debris Flow Mitigation project. The total cost of this phase of the project will be just over $467,000 — and the remaining portion of the project funding coming from the Community Works Fund (Gas Tax), community donations, and taxation.  The level of commitment from the community for both these projects has been amazing and everyone in Fairmont should be proud. In light of all this good news, the work is yet to be completed and we are vulnerable to events this spring.

While the creeks in Fairmont now have a plan to move forward, the situation with Windermere Creek is uncertain. For the past several years, there has been a large amount of sediment travelling down the creek and causing localized flooding and a new delta at the mouth of the creek.  This Windermere Creek Hydrotechnical Assessment Report states there is much more sediment yet to come down.  I encourage the residents of Windermere to educate themselves about this situation and the potential impacts.

The report can be found on the RDEK website at www.rdek.bc.ca.

Wendy Booth is the Regional District of East Kootenay Director for Area F and the RDEK board’s vice chair. She can be reached at wndbooth@gmail.com or 250-345-6155.

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