Township welcomes extension on dikes

The province passed an order in council to extend provisions of the Drainage Ditch and Dike Act

A plug has been put into a plan to have Spallumcheen take over care and maintenance of the Fortune Creek Drainage and Diking District.

The provincial government would have had Spallumcheen take over Fortune Creek on Dec. 31. But in November, the province passed an order in council to extend provisions of the Drainage Ditch and Dike Act until Dec. 31, 2015.

“The extension allows more time to resolve outstanding issues and negotiate agreements to transfer responsibility for the five diking districts and dikes incorporated under the Act to their respective local governments,” wrote Julia Berardinucci, director of resource management, for the ministry.

The township was alerted in February that it would be responsible for bringing the FCDDD up to the code of the Drainage, Ditch and Dike act, and that the assets would be transferred into Spallumcheen’s name by the end of the year.

There are 45 properties on the FCDDD with no access to equipment to bring the dike up to code.

Mayor Janice Brown said at the time 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.

“This really isn’t a dike,” reiterated Brown. “I can see it falling under the radar.”

Spallumcheen administrator Greg Betts added that Fortune Creek is more ditch, than dike.

Brown was excited over the extension.

“We’ve been working hard on this situation, the ministry has wanted us to take it over and we’ve said, “No, we don’t believe it falls into the category of a dike, and we’re not prepared to take it over and do extensive work to it,’” said Brown.

“We’re not in a position to take it over. We have no engineers on staff. We don’t have people to look after it.”

The ministry said in its letter it will dedicate a staff person to the Fortune Creek file, and some funding has been obtained to make an assessment of the dikes to determine their condition, and to make recommendations about capital projects, administration, operation and maintenance.

“If they come out and assess the creek and they say, ‘No we don’t want to take it over,’ at least we’ve gained the value of an assessment,” said Brown.