Salmon Arm  

Imminent danger on creek

Urgent action has been approved to protect homes at risk of slope erosion in the Shuswap.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has approved $25,000 for a remediation assessment and work plan to address safety issues along the banks of Newsome Creek in Sorrento.

Directors also voted unanimously Thursday to apply for federal and provincial funding to pay for the work needed to address safety, erosion and ravine slope stability.

The 2017 and 2018 spring freshets caused significant erosion below the Trans-Canada Highway in Sorrento, affecting several properties along Caen Road. Stream bank undercutting and slope failures in 2018 resulted in 11 properties needing to be placed on evacuation alert.

Further erosion continues to be very likely this spring, the CSRD says.

"The issue here is the urgency of the scenario," says director Paul Demenok. "We've got homes, properties, businesses and lives at risk here."

The $25,000 CSRD funding will be matched by Emergency Management BC.

"This is terrifying for the folks that live along there... They live it every day," says board chair Rhona Martin. 

Chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton says the province has advised that the district needs to take the lead role in the work, with the assistance of provincial emergency funding.

"While I do not agree with it being our responsibility, barring a legal challenge, it appears they are shifting the onus onto the CSRD to do something," Hamilton said.

Residents have formed the Newsome Creek Watershed Action Group and plan to meet with the CSRD, federal and provincial representatives on Jan. 22.

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