Flash flood probe finds fault

By Pete McIntyre
October 28, 2016 - 11:24am Updated: October 28, 2016 - 1:57pm

ENDERBY, B.C. — An investigation into a flash flood in the North Okanagan two years ago has found issues with road maintenance, culvert design and the government's response to public concerns.
 
A complaint was filed with the Forest Practices Board (FPB) after two culverts at the mouth of Dale Lake near Enderby failed in May 2014, leading to sections of Mabel Lake Road being washed out in a debris flood on Cooke Creek.
 
The complainant said he raised concerns with district forestry staff about the culverts, but on two occasions, they were not acted on.
 
FPB Board chair Tim Ryan says BC Timber Sales didn't inspect or maintain the road between 2006 and 2014, despite Ministry policy requiring annual inspections
 
Ryan also says the District installed a culvert in 2007 that was too small to withstand a 100-year flood, also against requirements.
 
"The board is concerned that the district and BC Timber Sales did not comply with legislation or their own risk management policies, procedures and systems," says Ryan. "Improvements are also needed in training, management, record keeping and the way in which public concerns and complaints are recorded and acted upon."

Ryan says the board is recommending that BC Timber Sales and the district advise within 30 days of how it will avoid similar road design and maintenance issues in the future.

"The investigation found that the district cleaned out a culvert in response to one concern, but did not respond to the complainant's concerns on two other occasions," said Ryan. "This lack of response was not adequate."

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.'s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government.

The board investigates public complaints about forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement.

It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

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