BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Downloading washes in

Richard Rolke on the need for apathy for residents of Ashton Creek

There should be considerable sympathy for the residents of Ashton Creek.

After all, anxiety has been high since June 2012 when the creek, which carries the same name as the community, went wild.

More than 100 families were impacted by the flooding and debris, including residents of the Creekside Mobile Home Park, who were issued an evacuation alert.

“It was blowing banks and taking sheds out,” said resident Patty Marshall at the time.

Those concerns arose again this year as water levels climbed high again. And while there wasn’t any extensive flooding, it’s evident that an emergency similar to 2012 could occur again.

“We have a continuous problem with spring flooding and we need the problem addressed before there is damage to property and life,” Len Bawtree, a former MLA and life-long resident, recently told the Regional District of North Okanagan board.

Mother Nature obviously plays a role in this situation, but so does bureaucracy.

Because of a lack of dredging, the creek bed is higher than the surrounding ground and a culvert pipe has been allowed to fill in with gravel.

RDNO is under pressure to initiate a study on flood mitigation, but the director for Ashton Creek isn’t enthusiastic to get involved.

“The creek is a provincial responsibility. It should be the province that fixes it,” said Jackie Pearase.

The concern is that if RDNO agrees and funds the study, further provincial downloading will occur and the regional district will be left with repair costs and ongoing maintenance.

“Once you are into it, you own all of the issues,” said Ron Baker, RDNO’s community protective services manager.

Downloading is a very real concept given what has been going on in Spallumcheen.

There, Victoria refused to do a flood study on Fortune Creek so residents went ahead with the process. Now, the province is demanding the Township of Spallumcheen pay for upgrades.

Now no one should be surprised that the provincial government is passing the buck. Whether it’s milfoil weed control, highway landscaping or social programs, Victoria is increasingly handing over duties to local governments. It’s a way of shifting their financial burden onto the backs of others.

But it should be pointed out that the province has considerably deeper pockets than communities, and particularly small, rural areas.

“They can’t afford to contribute,” said Trafford Hall, RDNO administrator, of Ashton Creek’s tax base.

The bottom line is that waterways such as creeks are a provincial responsibility. Victoria owns them and sets all of the rules for them, including dredging.

No one can fault the residents of Ashton Creek for turning to RDNO for help because something must be done before next spring. But pressure is being applied in the wrong place.

Residents, with support from RDNO, need to demand that Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo not only take their message to the powers-that-be, but to openly lobby on their behalf.

It also wouldn’t hurt to invite Premier Christy Clark for a tour of Ashton Creek as she stated she would be a voice for the region when she became an Okanagan MLA.

It is time for Victoria to live up to its responsibilities.

 

 

Just Posted

North Okanagan car club annual show a huge hit with spectators

People didn’t mind the hot weather as they admired all kinds of vintage vehicles at 25th annual show

North Okanagan mayor’s win benefits school lunch programs

Christine Fraser of Spallumcheen won $1,500 in SILGA draw, which goes to not-for-profit programs

Vernon Vipers name Connor Marritt captain

Takes over from graduating veteran, and fellow Okanagan native, Jagger Williamson

Vernon pitcher tosses second no-hitter of season

Jarod Leroux has two no-nos in his last three starts for the BCPBL’s Okanagan Athletics

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Heat, sun and a chance of thunderstorms for Father’s Day

Morning pancake breakfasts and fishing derbies across the region will see sun, showers may follow.

VIDEO: Horseback riding helps North Okanagan residents with special needs

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association needs more volunteers to continue offering sessions

Thunderstorm leaves small fire in the Shuswap in its wake

Wildfire crews are also fighting a small fire near Kamloops

South Okanagan pharmacy restricted from dispensing opioid treatment drugs

B.C. College of Pharmacists alleges Sunrise Pharmacy dispensed treatment drugs against rules

Police seek two suspects and car after stabbing in Kelowna

The stabbing took place on Friday evening on Wilson Avenue. It sent one man to hospital.

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Summerland Health Care Auxiliary completes hospital donation pledge early

$1M contribution to medical equipment campaign completed half a year earlier than expected

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Summerland ready for dry summer conditions

Province has declared Level Two drought, but Summerland has not increased watering restrictions

Summerland pioneers had connection to Middlesex, England

Harry Dunsdon and Richard Turner became cattlemen

Most Read