The message delivered by the Township of Spallumcheen to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations was simple.
When your office assesses the Fortune Creek Drainage and Diking District, you’ll either find it exempt from being a diking district, or you’ll take over the maintenance.
“We told him (minister Steve Thomson) this is deja vu,” said Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown, after she and her council met with Thomson and staff at the UBCM convention in Victoria. “We sat in here a year ago. You said you were coming to assess it. We told you it was not a diking district and we told you we don’t have a million dollars to bring it up to a diking district.”
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 province has promised funding to do an assessment of the FCDDD.
Brown told the minister that Fortune Creek is not a drainage and diking district that should be in the act, and 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.
“We told the minister that during the big flooding in the Okanagan this year, Fortune Creek was one of the only creeks that didn’t flood anybody out and is of no danger to anybody,” said Brown.
Brown said the township was very firm with the minister that Spallumcheen was not prepared to take it over, especially after having been turned down for grant monies.
The promised assessment still has not been completed.
There are 45 properties on the FCDDD with no access to equipment to bring the dike up to code.
That was one of a number of meetings township representatives had with provincial leaders during their week-long stay in Victoria.
And while ministers repeated the government mantra of “there’s no money to hand out,” the township thanked leaders for past efforts.
“We went to the highways minister and thanked them for the great work they did on the highway, then reminded them that they promised us a four-lane highway to Enderby,” said Brown.
“We said if you can’t consider four-laning the highway, would you please consider a traffic light at McLeod Subdivision, and improving the turn into The Log Barn, and working with the The Log Barn, for the safety of our residents?”
Brown felt the week-long convention was beneficial for the township.
“We feel we earned our salt here,” she said. “All of us worked frantically all week.”