Fairmont Debris Flow Mitigation

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On October 29, the RDEK hosted two public information sessions to present the plans for Phase 1 of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project and the recent hazard assessment that was completed on Cold Spring Creek.

Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok facilitated the sessions, which kicked off with a presentation by RDEK Engineering Technician Kara Zandbergen who presented an overview of the Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service. The second presenter of the night was Dr. Matthias Jakob of BGC Engineering, an internationally respected expert on debris flood and debris flows, who did a detailed presentation on the Cold Spring Creek Hazard Assessment he just completed on the creek. Finally, McElhany Engineering's Karen Prezelj presented the plans for Phase 1 of the project. The presentations were followed by questions and answers at each session. A full biography of the presenters is available in the documents section.

The video of the full 7:00pm session is linked below. Key times are as follows:

  • 11:43 - Video starts
  • 15:23 - Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service Overview (Kara Zandbergen, RDEK)
  • 26:48 - Cold Spring Creek Hazard Assessment 2020 (Dr. Matthias Jakob, BGC Engineering)
  • 1:17:23 - Phase 1 - Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project (Karen Prezelj, McElhaney Engineering)
  • 1:21:18 - Q&A

The 2pm session experienced some technical difficulties and the first part of the meeting was cut off; however, both sessions featured the same presentations. The video of the Q&A session from the 2pm session is posted below as some of the questions were different between the two sessions.

We are currently building a Q&A module for the site, where some of the questions and answers from the session will be included and that residents can use to ask questions throughout the project moving forward. We hope to have this feature launched soon.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on October 29th. For those who were unable to attend, we hope you will find the video file informational.

Full Presentations and Q&A Session (7pm Session):

2:00PM Question and Answer Session:


General Overview:

The RDEK has debris flow mitigation infrastructure on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek in Fairmont. They are regularly inspected and maintained as needed.

In 2018, the RDEK completed a multi-phase mitigation project on Fairmont Creek. Debris flow mitigation on Cold Spring Creek was identified as a priority project by the RDEK Board in its 2019/2020 Strategic Plan.

In October 2019, the RDEK applied for $750,000 in funding from the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Structural Flood Mitigation Program for a debris flow mitigation project on Cold Spring Creek. The funding was awarded in March 2020. $150,000 in reserves were added to the project to bring the budget to $900,000.

The engineering contract was awarded to McElhanney on May 29, 2020. As part McElhanney’s proposal, they partnered with Dr. Mattias Jakob of BCG Engineering to update the hazard assessment for Cold Spring Creek, which he presented to the Board on October 1. The assessment determined that previous studies underestimated the potential for damaging debris flows. As a result, the RDEK has taken immediate action to widen the scope of the Cold Spring Creek project. The consultants have completed a conceptual design for a debris flow containment net that could collect approximately 20,000 cubic metres of debris. The total cost for this phase is now estimated to be $1.375 million.

On October 2, 2020 the RDEK Board approved $275,000 in new Community Works funding and the re-allocation of $200,000 that was previously approved for the Swansea Road watermain project to ensure funding is in place and Phase 1 can be completed.

The assessment report can be found under the Documents section on this project page. This assessment is quite different from the previous assessment that was competed in 2015 and shows that the hazard has been understated in the past.

The mitigation on Cold Spring Creek will be completed in several phases. The design for Phase 1 is currently underway with construction expected to occur in 2021. Future phase(s) will occur as funding becomes available and we are actively pursuing funding opportunities.

For more information on Fairmont debris flow mitigation, please contact Kara Zandbergen at [email protected] or 1-888-478-7335 in our Cranbrook RDEK office.

On October 29, the RDEK hosted two public information sessions to present the plans for Phase 1 of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project and the recent hazard assessment that was completed on Cold Spring Creek.

Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok facilitated the sessions, which kicked off with a presentation by RDEK Engineering Technician Kara Zandbergen who presented an overview of the Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service. The second presenter of the night was Dr. Matthias Jakob of BGC Engineering, an internationally respected expert on debris flood and debris flows, who did a detailed presentation on the Cold Spring Creek Hazard Assessment he just completed on the creek. Finally, McElhany Engineering's Karen Prezelj presented the plans for Phase 1 of the project. The presentations were followed by questions and answers at each session. A full biography of the presenters is available in the documents section.

The video of the full 7:00pm session is linked below. Key times are as follows:

  • 11:43 - Video starts
  • 15:23 - Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service Overview (Kara Zandbergen, RDEK)
  • 26:48 - Cold Spring Creek Hazard Assessment 2020 (Dr. Matthias Jakob, BGC Engineering)
  • 1:17:23 - Phase 1 - Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project (Karen Prezelj, McElhaney Engineering)
  • 1:21:18 - Q&A

The 2pm session experienced some technical difficulties and the first part of the meeting was cut off; however, both sessions featured the same presentations. The video of the Q&A session from the 2pm session is posted below as some of the questions were different between the two sessions.

We are currently building a Q&A module for the site, where some of the questions and answers from the session will be included and that residents can use to ask questions throughout the project moving forward. We hope to have this feature launched soon.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on October 29th. For those who were unable to attend, we hope you will find the video file informational.

Full Presentations and Q&A Session (7pm Session):

2:00PM Question and Answer Session:


General Overview:

The RDEK has debris flow mitigation infrastructure on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek in Fairmont. They are regularly inspected and maintained as needed.

In 2018, the RDEK completed a multi-phase mitigation project on Fairmont Creek. Debris flow mitigation on Cold Spring Creek was identified as a priority project by the RDEK Board in its 2019/2020 Strategic Plan.

In October 2019, the RDEK applied for $750,000 in funding from the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Structural Flood Mitigation Program for a debris flow mitigation project on Cold Spring Creek. The funding was awarded in March 2020. $150,000 in reserves were added to the project to bring the budget to $900,000.

The engineering contract was awarded to McElhanney on May 29, 2020. As part McElhanney’s proposal, they partnered with Dr. Mattias Jakob of BCG Engineering to update the hazard assessment for Cold Spring Creek, which he presented to the Board on October 1. The assessment determined that previous studies underestimated the potential for damaging debris flows. As a result, the RDEK has taken immediate action to widen the scope of the Cold Spring Creek project. The consultants have completed a conceptual design for a debris flow containment net that could collect approximately 20,000 cubic metres of debris. The total cost for this phase is now estimated to be $1.375 million.

On October 2, 2020 the RDEK Board approved $275,000 in new Community Works funding and the re-allocation of $200,000 that was previously approved for the Swansea Road watermain project to ensure funding is in place and Phase 1 can be completed.

The assessment report can be found under the Documents section on this project page. This assessment is quite different from the previous assessment that was competed in 2015 and shows that the hazard has been understated in the past.

The mitigation on Cold Spring Creek will be completed in several phases. The design for Phase 1 is currently underway with construction expected to occur in 2021. Future phase(s) will occur as funding becomes available and we are actively pursuing funding opportunities.

For more information on Fairmont debris flow mitigation, please contact Kara Zandbergen at [email protected] or 1-888-478-7335 in our Cranbrook RDEK office.

  • Update: Lower Debris Trap Clean-Out on Cold Spring Creek

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    18 Nov 2020
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    Here is the latest update on the clean-out of the lower debris trap on Cold Spring Creek. Crews are actively removing and hauling debris and expect they will be hauling for about the next two weeks, dependent on weather and changing conditions. We are hoping to have the work completed by the end of the month and will keep you updated as the work progresses and wraps up.

    The dump truck haul route is along Ogilvey Avenue and Wills Road to Highway 93/95 and then to the Fairmont Transfer Station. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been consulted regarding this road use and have advised that these are public roads with no current restrictions. This route was selected to avoid using the privately owned roads in the Riverside area. We are sensitive to the concerns of the residents along the roads being used, and as such the loads being hauled are significantly lighter than what is allowed and the road conditions are being closely monitored.

    If you have any questions about the debris removal, please contact Kara Zandbergen at [email protected] or by phone in our Cranbrook office at 1-888-478-7335.

  • Debris Removal Set to Begin on Lower Trap - Cold Spring Creek

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    03 Nov 2020
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    The RDEK will be starting the clean-out of the lower debris trap on Cold Spring Creek, with equipment mobilization to site and initial instream work possibly beginning as early as Friday, November 6, 2020. You can expect to see heavy equipment and dump trucks in the area for roughly the next month.


  • Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project & Hazard Assessment Presented to Community

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    01 Nov 2020
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    Residents and property owners in Fairmont were able to learn more about the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project this week.

    “While construction on Phase 1 of the project isn’t slated to begin until next year, there is a great deal of information and work that will be taking place between now and then and we want to ensure the community feels informed and up to date on the project every step of the way,” says Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “I was pleased to see so many people participate and encourage the community to continue to stay engaged throughout the project.”

    The information sessions were attended by over 50 people, both in person and virtually, and featured three keynote speakers plus a question and answer session. The RDEK’s project lead, Engineering Technician Kara Zandbergen, provided an overview of the Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service, McElhaney Engineering presented the plans for Phase 1 and BGC Engineering provided a detailed overview of the hazard assessment it recently completed on Cold Spring Creek.

    “There was a great deal of valuable information shared during the sessions, and I was impressed with the caliber of questions being asked by attendees,” adds Clovechok. “Anyone who was not able to attend can view a video of the session on the project page and will soon be able to ask questions directly through a new Q&A tool on the site.”

    The RDEK has posted a video of the information session on engage.rdek.bc.ca/debris with more information scheduled to be added early next week.

    The total cost for Phase 1, which will include a debris flow containment net, is estimated to be $1.375 million. The consultants are currently working on the net design and construction is scheduled to begin in 2021. With a potential cost of $11 million dollars for future phases of the project, the RDEK is actively seeking out additional funding sources and will be scheduling additional community meetings in the future regarding the likely need for future borrowing to help fund the project.

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  • Cold Spring Creek Project Scope Expands Following New Hazard Assessment

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    05 Oct 2020
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    A debris flood expert has completed an updated hazard assessment on Cold Spring Creek in Fairmont Hot Springs and has presented his findings to the RDEK Board.

    Dr. Mattias Jakob of BGC Engineering assessed the watershed this summer as part of the RDEK’s Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project. The study details the historical evidence of debris flood and debris flow activity going back hundreds of years and provides updated modeling on the potential size of future events. “The report highlights that previous studies underestimated the potential for risk,” says Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “As a result, the RDEK has taken immediate action to widen the scope of the Cold Spring Creek project and will now be working with Dr. Jakob and the community to clarify the risks, share risk reduction recommendations and identify appropriate mitigation measures.”

    Community meetings will be scheduled in the near future and details will be shared with the community as soon as the meeting dates are confirmed. A project page has been created on engage.rdek.bc.ca, and includes links to the reports related to the Cold Spring Creek project. New information will continue to be added to the project page moving forward.

    The Cold Spring Creek project was identified as a priority by the Board during its 2020 Strategic Planning process late last year. In March, the RDEK was awarded $750,000 through the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Structural Flood Mitigation Program. An additional $150,000 was allocated from the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area reserves to bring the project total to $900,000. Completing an updated risk assessment was one of the first steps in the process.

    While the original intent of the project was to address the debris flood hazard, with the increased potential for damaging debris flows, the RDEK will be prioritizing debris flow mitigation in the first phase of the project, which is now expected to involve multiple phases. “We felt it was important to share the report as soon as possible with the community and are taking immediate steps to expand the scope of the project to encompass a solution that will add a more robust level of protection in the event of a debris flow,” says RDEK Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok.

    The consultants have completed a conceptual design for a debris flow containment net and the total cost for this phase is estimated to be $1.375 million. “Dr. Jakob’s assessment has given us new understanding and we recognize the importance of making Phase 1 of this project happen as seamlessly as possible. Today the Board approved $275,000 in new Community Works funding and the re-allocation of $200,000 that was previously approved for the Swansea Road watermain project to ensure funding is in place and Phase 1 can be completed.”

    With a potential cost of $11 million dollars for future phases of the project, the RDEK will also be seeking out additional funding sources and will be engaging with the property owners within the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area regarding the likely need for future borrowing to help fund the project.

    “This is the beginning of what will be detailed and ongoing communication with residents and property owners,” stresses Clovechok. “Our next step will be the community meetings, which we hope to have scheduled soon.”