The search is on for those individuals who may have triggered a massive slide and flood.
Ministry of Forests natural resource officers are seeking the public’s help to find those responsible for tampering with culverts at Dale Lake, which led to a debris flood down Cooke Creek, east of Enderby, in May 2014.
“We’re just thankful there were no injuries or loss of life,” said Patrick Tobin, compliance and enforcement branch manager.
The debris washed down the creek roared into the Shuswap River and caused extensive damage to the Kingfisher Interpretive Centre. Mabel Lake Road was also wiped out, cutting off access to the Kingfisher community for a few days.
Natural resource officers would like to speak to anyone who may know the people responsible for the tampering, or anyone who observed suspicious people or vehicles at Dale Lake prior to May 2, 2014.
Tobin’s office has been working on the case since the slide occurred.
“It was a fairly complex investigation,” he said, adding that about 26 people were interviewed.
“We have come to an impasse (in the investigation). We hope to generate a buzz in the community.”
Anyone found guilty of causing environmental damage as a result of tampering with culverts on Crown land may be subject to prosecution under the Forest and Range Practices Act. They can be ticketed $575 or fined up to $100,000 and one year in jail.
Residents with information about the Cooke Creek incident can call 1-844-676-8477 or go to www.for.gov.bc.ca/hen/nrv/report.htm. Reports can be anonymous.
It’s not known why someone may have tampered with the culvert, although there is some speculation that it may have been to keep the level of Dale Lake high.
“Tampering with culverts can create public safety hazards, pose health risks to people, cause environmental damage and destroy fish and wildlife habitat,” states the ministry.