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.

If you have a question about the Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project, ask it below!  Answers are published on this page and you can scroll through the list to check out the questions and answers that have been submitted to date.

Q&A

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    . The report indicates the assessment may affect future development and encumbrances on title. How does that affect sales, value, insurance, current properties and perception of the community?

    3 days ago

    We cannot comment on questions related to property values or other impacts such as the price of home insurance, as there are many variables outside of the control of RDEK that determine those factors.  You should direct your inquiries to your insurance provider or a property assessor as appropriate.  The goal of this project is to increase community safety and minimize the potential impacts of future events. In that regard, having infrastructure in place to mitigate potential risk, is an important part of community safety and public perception.  

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    When we go to a vote, how are votes collected? By title? By acreage? How are votes evaluated? What about unsold lots owned by the Resort? How about the condos and timeshares?

    3 days ago

    The details of the elector assent process have not yet been finalized. Once these details are known, they will be shared with the community and a public information meeting will be scheduled.

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    Table E-2 observations indicate if clearing of the creeks took place as previously done it would mitigate hazards lower down, why is that not the priority action to take? Clear the debris and it won’t avulse.

    3 days ago

    Table E-2 in the Hazard Assessment Report summarized the key findings of the assessment but does not discuss clearing debris from the upper reaches of the creeks.  Clearing debris from the upper creeks to the degree that it would reduce the hazard to an acceptable level is not recommended. There are a number of debris sources in the upper watersheds of both creeks and would require developing an extensive network of access roads in steep and challenging terrain. It would be very costly and the expense would need to be carried entirely by the service area as this type of work is not eligible for grants.

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    The BGC Hazard Assessment identifies the consequences of what can happen if debris is trapped and released, why does it not proactively address what can be done upstream to clear the debris before it is a hazard?

    3 days ago

    Clearing debris from the upper creeks to the degree that it would reduce the hazard to an acceptable level is not recommended. There are a number of debris sources in the upper watersheds of both creeks and would require developing an extensive network of access roads in steep and challenging terrain. It would be very costly and the expense would need to be carried entirely by the service area as this type of work is not eligible for grants.

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    It appears not all property owners in the service area received Brian Funke’s letter of October 5, 2020 and attachments, why would that be?

    3 days ago

    A total of 802 letters representing 1038 properties were mailed out to all property owners within the service area. We can’t speak to why individuals may not have received a letter (as there could be a host of reasons); however, we would encourage anyone who did not receive a letter to contact our office to ensure we have the correct address on file.  We have also now posted it on the project page in the Documents section.

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    We have seen culverts being replaced since the latest flooding in May 2020 on both CSC and Fairmont Creek, how much is that work expected to remediate the flooding?

    3 days ago

    Responsibility for sizing, replacement, maintenance and operations of culverts and roadways in unincorporated or rural areas of the RDEK falls under provincial jurisdiction – specifically, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). 

    MOTI has installed additional culverts at some of the creek crossings as a short term solution to increase capacity for high flow events. The degree of flooding remediation due to this additional capacity has not been quantified. There is the potential for additional work in the future; however, we are not able to comment on the timing or nature of the work.

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    Would it not make more sense to re-establish the clearing of debris from the creeks upstream as was done for 50+ years by the resort rather than this reactive versus proactive plan?

    3 days ago

    The RDEK has discussed previous creek maintenance with the former owners of the Resort. While the Resort has removed windfall following storms and regular maintenance (such as clearing debris from their intake), it has been confirmed that there was no large scale debris removal from the upper creeks. 

    Clearing debris from the upper creeks to the degree that it would reduce the hazard to an acceptable level is not recommended. There are a number of debris sources in the upper watersheds of both creeks and would require developing an extensive network of access roads in steep and challenging terrain. It would be very costly and the expense would need to be carried entirely by the service area as this type of work is not eligible for grants.

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    The reservoir had never been called a debris trap/catch basin before recent floods since the Creek hasn’t been cleared since 2007, it was originally referred to as the water holding to water the resort’s golf courses. Has that changed? is that water no longer diverted to water the golf courses?

    3 days ago

    The reservoir was not intended to be a debris trap but it is functioning as one regardless. The FHSR does still use the reservoir for golf course irrigation.

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    The reservoir on CSC had never been dug down to the depth it was since May 31 and the flood gate had been buried by meters of debris. What capacity will it be maintained to now?

    3 days ago

    The reservoir will be maintained at the capacity it was excavated to in 2020 dependent on available service area and/or Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) funding.

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    How was BGC Engineering selected to do the hazard assessment and how much reliance should be placed on their examples and modeling of similar hazards in other parts of the world? Are they paid more to find more wrong?

    3 days ago

    BGC is a highly respected professional engineering firm and was selected through a public competitive procurement (tendering) process. They used established techniques and multiple methods all of which gave very similar results. A high degree of reliance should be placed on their findings. Dr. Jakob, who led the BGC team, is an internationally respected debris flow expert. They are professionals and are paid to report their findings accurately.