After two unsuccessful grant applications for mitigation work along Newsome Creek, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) is being supported by the province on a third.
The creek has been a concern for Sorrento residents who live along its banks since 2017, when it changed course during spring freshet and began undercutting people’s properties, putting homes at risk.
At the recent executive committee meeting of the CSRD’s Shuswap Emergency Program, it was explained the regional district had received news two grant applications for mitigation measures were unsuccessful. However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is supporting the regional district on a new grant application, which was on the agenda of the Dec. 9 CSRD board meeting.
In his report to the board, Derek Sutherland, CSRD team leader, protective services, explained the ministry is interested in supporting works on Newsome Creek as it fits with the ministry’s plan to upgrade the Highway 1 creek crossing.
Sutherland sought the board’s approval to proceed with the new grant application through the federal Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, which offers 40 per cent funding to support structural and “natural infrastructure projects.” The program allows for applications to be made prior to the remaining 60 per cent being secured. Sutherland said if the application is successful, staff would reach out to provincial partners for additional funding support.
The total cost of the mitigation project is $7,215,000. The recommended work, identified in a 2019 study, involves a combination of mitigating measures necessary to stabilize the slope along the entire affected area.
“These mitigative measures ranged from using natural timbers found in the stream bed, to rip rap, to sheet piles to shore up and stabilize the banks,” said Sutherland in the report.
Sutherland said it is the opinion of CSRD staff and provincial partners this latest grant application provides an “excellent opportunity for the province to provide support to the Newsome Creek residents affected by the severe erosion and the Sorrento water users affected by severe turbidity,” given Newsome Creek deposits debris near the Sorrento water system’s lake intake each year.
“The community continues to be concerned; they’re mounting a petition at this point to look at having everyone understand at the provincial and federal government that this affects more than 22 properties,” said Area C South Shuswap Director Paul Demenok. “It affects the entire community. We’ve had seven boil water advisories in the last eight years as a result of this, so it goes beyond just those homes and their busineses and properties all being put at risk…”
The board supported the application proceeding.
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