Fairmont Debris Flow Mitigation

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The Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service is in place within the community of Fairmont. Within the Service Area, the RDEK has debris flow mitigation infrastructure on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek. This infrastructure is regularly inspected and maintained as needed.

After completing a multi-phase debris flow mitigation project on Fairmont Creek in 2018, debris flow mitigation on Cold Spring Creek was identified as a priority project by the RDEK Board in its 2019/2020 Strategic Plan. We are currently in the early stages of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project, and are awaiting word from the Federal Government on whether our recent funding application for over $9 million dollars has been approved.

As part of the early stages of the project, a Hazard Assessment was completed for Cold Spring Creek last fall, the results of which were shared with the community in October. We have recently completed a Risk Assessment (which is different from the hazard assessment in that it looks at the potential life safety, economic, and social impacts if the hazard was to materialize).

The RDEK hosted an information meeting on June 16th to present the Risk Assessment to the community. The meeting also included an update on the timeline for the Cold Spring Creek project (if the grant funding is approved) along with information on the costs for the Service Area and the potential future tax implications.

For those who were unable to take in the meeting, you can watch it here (please note: the recording start was slightly delayed. As a result, a portion of the opening comments, including the Indigenous land acknowledgement, was not captured):

There is a wealth of information on this page. For copies of project newsletters, inspection reports, technical reports and more, check out the Documents section. If you have a question about the project, take a read through the Q&A section below or ask a question using the Q&A tool or follow up with the contacts listed on this page.

For more information on Fairmont debris flow mitigation, please contact Kara Zandbergen at kzandbergen@rdek.bc.ca or 1-888-478-7335 in our Cranbrook RDEK office.

The Fairmont Flood & Landslide Service is in place within the community of Fairmont. Within the Service Area, the RDEK has debris flow mitigation infrastructure on both Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek. This infrastructure is regularly inspected and maintained as needed.

After completing a multi-phase debris flow mitigation project on Fairmont Creek in 2018, debris flow mitigation on Cold Spring Creek was identified as a priority project by the RDEK Board in its 2019/2020 Strategic Plan. We are currently in the early stages of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project, and are awaiting word from the Federal Government on whether our recent funding application for over $9 million dollars has been approved.

As part of the early stages of the project, a Hazard Assessment was completed for Cold Spring Creek last fall, the results of which were shared with the community in October. We have recently completed a Risk Assessment (which is different from the hazard assessment in that it looks at the potential life safety, economic, and social impacts if the hazard was to materialize).

The RDEK hosted an information meeting on June 16th to present the Risk Assessment to the community. The meeting also included an update on the timeline for the Cold Spring Creek project (if the grant funding is approved) along with information on the costs for the Service Area and the potential future tax implications.

For those who were unable to take in the meeting, you can watch it here (please note: the recording start was slightly delayed. As a result, a portion of the opening comments, including the Indigenous land acknowledgement, was not captured):

There is a wealth of information on this page. For copies of project newsletters, inspection reports, technical reports and more, check out the Documents section. If you have a question about the project, take a read through the Q&A section below or ask a question using the Q&A tool or follow up with the contacts listed on this page.

For more information on Fairmont debris flow mitigation, please contact Kara Zandbergen at kzandbergen@rdek.bc.ca or 1-888-478-7335 in our Cranbrook RDEK office.

  • Geophysics Investigative Work to Begin

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    As part of the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Projects, we will be beginning the geotechnical investigation next week.

    The first activity will be the geophysics portion of the investigation. This will be a very non-invasive activity. With the geophysics investigation our consultants will use sensors along a few sections through the project area to get an idea of the conditions under the ground (for example, the depth to the bedrock and differing soil conditions).

    This information will be used to plan the next stage of the geotechnical investigation (drilling and test pits) that will take place later in July.

    There will be a couple of people on site on Monday doing a bit of brushing (likely with chainsaws) to ensure that the geophysics lines are reasonably clear. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the geophysics team will be on site. They will have cables and sensors on the ground and there may be a few loud bangs throughout the two days that they are there. If you are hiking on the trails in the area, please stay clear of any equipment that you see on the ground and watch for trail closures, which would have signage posted.

    If you have any questions please contact Kara Zandbergen, Project Lead at kzandbergen@rdek.bc.ca or 250-489-2791.

  • April Project Update

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    The RDEK received a report in late 2020 outlining the debris flow hazard potential on Cold Spring Creek. Given the magnitude of the hazard and the risk to life and property, the report was immediately shared with the community, and our team has been working to find ways to mitigate the hazard as expeditiously as possible. A risk assessment is currently being completed that idenitifies the potential life loss and economic risk posed by the debris flow hazard.

    It was anticipated that, given the magnitude of the mitigation works required, that it would take multiple projects requiring multiple grants, to complete, and that significant funds would be required to be raised by the community for matching contributions. In early 2021, a grant program became available that could allow for completion of the second phase of mitigation works in a single project, with possible 100% funding of up to $10 million. Although the timelines required for this program are extremely tight, it was felt that it was worth pursuing, for the benefit of the community.

    This grant represents a tremendous opportunity for the community if we are approved, as it would be 100% funded by the Federal and Provincial governments. To put its magnitude into perspective, if approved, it would represent over 20% of all the available funding for the Province in this funding program and would be the largest single grant the RDEK has ever received for a capital project.

    We will not know until mid-April whether or not the funding application will be approved; however, recognizing both the significance of this grant opportunity AND the potential risk to the community, our team has been moving as quickly as possible to meet the legislative timelines and has been working with the Ministry on all options to ensure we are positioned to meet the terms of the grant funding should we be successful.

    To read the latest project update, including an update on the assent process and bylaw amendments, estimated tax rates, and more, please read the March 12, 2021 Newsletter (available in the Documents section).

    We recognize there are still many questions – and we are committed to answering them.

    Once we have more details on the approval of the bylaw amendment, have received the risk assessment and hear whether or not we have been successful in the grant, we will be sending out an update and scheduling a community meeting. While we do not yet know the timing of the meeting, it will likely be in May given when we expect to hear on these three items.

  • October 2020 Meeting

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    OCTOBER 2020 PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETINGS & HAZARD ASSESSMENT OVERVIEW

    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:

  • Fairmont Update (May 24.21): Use Extreme Caution Around Creeks After Heavy Rainfall

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    The Fairmont area has experienced heavy rain this weekend. In the past 24 hours, our weather station has received over 44 mm of rain. This rainfall intensity and duration is currently considered to be at 1-in-25-year precipitation event.

    Please use extreme caution around the creeks in the community as the water and flow levels in the creeks will be very high and banks can erode and be unstable. There is also the possibility of sediment transport along the creeks in the form of debris floods or flows.

    For those who would like to do any sandbagging, sand and sandbags are available at the barn by Mountainside Golf Course in Fairmont. Two piles have been set up to allow for social distancing and you will need to bring your own gloves and shovels.

    Resources:

    • Flood Preparedness Newsletter
    • Other preparedness information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/know-your-hazards/floods

    Homeowners should ensure their ditches and driveway culverts remain clear. We have staff on the ground in Fairmont today checking the highway culverts.

    A reminder if you see widespread flooding or a debris flood, please call the 24-hour emergency line: 1-800-663-3456.

    Environment Canada is forecasting rain to continue throughout the day today, tapering off to 40% chance of showers through the night and tomorrow. With more rain in the forecast for this week, we are encouraging residents to review the flood preparedness information, maintain your awareness around local creeks and watch for further updates. If you have not already signed up for emergency evacuation orders or alerts through the regional Evacuation Notification System, you are encouraged to register and can do so here: https://www.rdek.bc.ca/departments/protectiveservices/emergencyinfo/evacuation_notification_system/

    Staff will be monitoring weather and creek conditions and we will provide updates as needed.

  • RDEK Awaits Word on Grant Application

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    The RDEK is hoping for good news in the next month on the status of its nearly $10 million grant application for a debris flow mitigation project on Cold Spring Creek in Fairmont Hot Springs.

    “This grant represents a tremendous opportunity for the community if we are approved, as the capital costs would be 100% funded by the Federal and Provincial governments,” says RDEK Electoral Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “This project has been rapidly evolving and when this grant was announced RDEK staff acted quickly to get an application submitted prior to the very short deadline. We are now waiting for the application to make its way through the approval channels.”

    The RDEK is hoping to hear in the next few weeks whether or not the funding application will be approved; however, recognizing both the significance of this grant opportunity AND the potential risk to the community, the RDEK has been working with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on all options to ensure it is positioned to meet the terms of the grant funding should it be successful.

    The Phase 1 Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project has been in the works for well over a year, but the hazard assessment that was completed as a part of the engineering for the original project identified a more significant level of risk to the community and identified the need for additional mitigation measures. “As government, one of our jobs is to work to protect public safety and, while we all hope no larger-scale events happen in the future, we are acting as swiftly as we can to provide an increased level of protection to the community,” adds Clovechok. “Receiving nearly $10 million dollars in funding would make a profound difference both in terms of what we could achieve, and in reducing the impact to taxpayers.”

    Separate and apart from ensuring all of the pieces are in place should the grant be successful, is a necessary increase in taxation in the service area, resulting from the increased frequency of events. In order to maintain the existing flood mitigation infrastructure, pay for the service area share of the 2020 debris flood event response and recovery and to pay for the costs associated with the projects that are not grant eligible, an increase in the maximum requisition limit within the bylaw is needed.

    The RDEK is working extensively with the Ministry to determine how to meet the timelines associated with the grant and the need to have the required changes in taxation completed.

    “There were a number of factors to consider when looking at which process to use to increase the maximum requisition limit for the service area,” explains Clovechok. The conditions of the grant require a September 30, 2021 construction start. To meet that deadline, the process of awarding the engineering contract and proceeding with detailed design and approvals would have to begin immediately. The earliest a referendum process could be held was the end of June, which would be too late for the award of the engineering design contract. In addition, if the referendum failed, even by one vote, the RDEK would be required to return the nearly $10 million potential grant and it is unknown when another 100% funded opportunity of this size would be available again.

    As a result, and following discussions with the Ministry, the RDEK Board unanimously moved to pursue Consent by Director at its March Board Meeting. The urgency is related to the impending project but the need for the increase to properly maintain the existing infrastructure for public safety is required regardless. “The public safety aspect has to be our top priority and is the driving force behind the director consent approach,” adds Clovechok.

    The RDEK is hoping to hear from the Province this month whether the bylaw has received the approval of the Inspector of Municipalities and the Minister. The Risk Assessment report, which provides a more in-depth evaluation of the risks on Cold Spring Creek, will be presented to the RDEK Board at its April Board Meeting and shared with the community.

    “Once we have all of these pieces in place, we will be scheduling a meeting with the community to provide an update on the status of the grant application, a detailed review of the risk assessment, and an overview of the next steps in the project and impacts for taxpayers,” adds Clovechok. While a meeting date has not yet been set, it will likely be in May.

    The RDEK has established a project page: engage.rdek.bc.ca/debris and is urging all Fairmont residents who have access to email to make sure they have signed up for the Fairmont email group to receive ongoing project updates.

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  • Project Update - March 12, 2021 - Important Update

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    Good afternoon everyone,

    There is an important update to share on the Cold Spring Creek Project & Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service. Please read the latest project newsletter:

    This is an ever-evolving project and there were changes last week at the RDEK Committee and Board Meetings. We want to make sure you are aware of the changes, where we are at currently, and that things are still in motion.

    To that end, we will be scheduling a public information meeting and sending out further updates once more details are finalized (likely late April to early May).

    Until then, please fully read the newsletter as it provides the latest information for you.

    Take care,
    Loree

  • Project Update - March 2, 2021

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    We wanted to reach out to you to provide a quick update on the Cold Spring Creek Project. Here is the latest:

    • A new grant program has been announced that would provide up to 100% funding for projects up to $10 million. Recognizing the incredible opportunity that a 100% funded project of this size could make for the community of Fairmont, the RDEK has applied.
    • If we are successful in our nearly $10 million dollar grant application, we would have to meet very tight timelines and construction must be started by September 30, 2021.
    • We are still waiting for additional information from the Province about the process that we need to follow. However, because of the tight timelines if we were to be successful, in order to meet regulatory requirements for a potential elector assent process, we would have to initiate the process by bringing the appropriate bylaws to the March Board Meeting.
    • We will not know whether we are successful in our grant application until early April; however, will be bringing bylaws forward in March so that we do not miss out on the opportunity should we be successful.
    • We know that there are lots of questions that will need to be answered and we are working very hard to answer them. There will be more information coming out in the coming weeks and months, starting with our next newsletter which we hope to have out in the next couple of weeks.

    We had some requests from the community for additional information to be posted on the project page and I wanted to let you know where to find them:

    • The 2020 inspection reports for Cold Spring Creek and Fairmont Creek are in the DOCUMENTS section in the “Annual Inspections” folder.
    • The PowerPoint presentation delivered by Kara Zandbergen to the RDEK Board in December is in the DOCUMENTS section in the “Presentations” folder and it is posted with the notes view so you can see her speaking notes as well.

    The Q&A tool is on the project page and the purpose of this tool is for questions about the project to be asked and answered so that others who may have the same questions can see the answers. To ask a question about the project or service area, the Q&A tool is on the main project page under the first section of text.

    If you have comments you wish to share with the project team, you can send them to your Area Director or Kara Zandbergen. Their contact information is listed on the project page.

    The project page is intended to be an information hub where you can access resources, get project updates and ask questions. It will be updated and have more information added as we get further into the process.

    The project page can be found here: https://engage.rdek.bc.ca/debris

    For today, we wanted to make you aware of the grant application and the rationale behind the bylaws having to come to Board.

    If you have questions about the project in general, please contact Kara Zandbergen, Engineering and Water Resource Technician at 250-489-2791 or kzandbergen@rdek.bc.ca.

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

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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 kzandbergen@rdek.bc.ca 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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    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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    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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Page last updated: 18 June 2021, 13:58