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.

Q&A

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.

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    If you don't get the government 10 million then are the residents of Fairmont up for that as well as the up keep of the project? I'm going to need to take a mortgage out to pay my taxes at this rate. A vote on this tax increase is needed. Or maybe you could tax all the illegal STRs in Fairmont that will help pay for it.

    asked 4 months ago

    Funding has been secured for the project. We are working with the Province and Federal government to formalize funding details for this project and a public announcement will be made when complete funding agreements for the projects in the funding program have been finalized.

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    Can you post the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Establishment Bylaw No. 1208, 1996 for reference to bylaw 3047

    Harlin asked 7 months ago

    We have created a Bylaws folder in the DOCUMENTS section on this project page and have loaded the service establishment bylaw there.  The direct link is HERE.

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    Why can we not have the whole Area F contribute to this massive tax hike? Putting this tax hike on such a small area will make it too expensive for people to be able to afford to live in Fairmont. I don't like the fact you have used a loophole to put this tax through without going to the residents first. How many reports over the years have been done on Cold Spring Creek? The previous report was nothing like this new report how do you know for sure the new report is accurate? How do you know if the company doing the report is saying this just to drum up business? Will, there be another report as you seem to have 2 reports with different views on what could happen. This is such a massive amount of money to be spent I think this needs to be looked into more. You need to get out there and inform the community what exactly is going on, cause a lot of people I have talked to know nothing. Not everyone reads flyers that come in the mail.

    Emily asked 7 months ago

    Service areas are established under Provincial legislation in the Local Government Act.  The boundary of a service area is defined upon establishment or amendment of the service area bylaw and includes the properties that receive benefit from the service.  Every dollar collected in the service is used for operations, capital and reserves of the service only and any surplus stays with the service until utilized.  The proposed tax increase cannot be shared among all properties of Electoral Area F because the properties outside of the Fairmont Flood and Landslide Boundary will not receive benefit from the service.  If the service area was changed to all of Electoral Area F, the scope of the service area would also change and Fairmont properties would be taxed for flood and debris expenditures throughout Area F not just those within the community of Fairmont.  

    A handful of reports have been completed on Cold Spring over the years. The hazard assessment that was completed by BGC Engineering in September 2020 is by far the most in depth assessment that has been completed to date. It was extremely thorough and used a combination of techniques to reinforce the conclusions. BGC is arguably the leading firm for both alluvial fan hazard studies and quantitative landslide risk assessments in Canada and have won national and international awards for their work. Their staff have conducted many such assessments in Canada and other nations and have published numerous papers on the subject in journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Jakob, P.Geo. (BC/AB), LG (WA), who was the project lead with BGC for these assessments, is the lead editor of a book on debris flows published in 2005 and is currently lead editor of an updated volume on debris flows. He has worked on over one hundred debris flow and debris flood projects in British Columbia and around the world.  You are encouraged to do your own research on BGC Engineering and Dr. Matthias Jakob. 

    Every property owner in the service area was sent a direct letter in October outlining the current situation and laying out how and where information on the project will be posted so that they can ensure they are informed every step of the way.  It has also been posted on the project page. The public meeting in October was publicized in local media, sent via our email group, posted on posters throughout the community, recorded and posted on the project page for people who were not available to be able to watch at any time.  Due to COVID restrictions, we made special arrangements to have a space that could facilitate in-person attendance for those who may not have access to computers and streamed the meeting so that property owners living out of area could participate. Regular updates are provided to our email group and posted on the project page. The March newsletter was sent to over 660 mailboxes in Fairmont, shared via our email group, shared with the Fairmont Community Association, and posted on the project page. There will be another community meeting in late April or early May once we have some additional information finalized and the details of the meeting will also be advertised, posted on our project page, sent to our Fairmont email group, sent to property owners, shared with the Community Association, and posted in the community. The project page also has an FAQ tool for questions specific to the project and the contact information for both Director Clovechok and the project lead Kara Zandbergen are provided there.  

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    Has been confirmed - original owner of the FHS Resort sent crews up regularly on the creeks to cut away potential blockages to avoid debris flow damages. No damages were encountered until after the new owners. This history has proven results. Suggest this maintenance work be continued based on its past effect and cost.

    Koz asked 9 months ago

    The former owners of the FHSR removed windfall from the creeks up to the ski hill and cleared debris from the ski hill intake when it filled up. Creek maintenance was not performed upstream of the ski hill. Large amounts of debris were not removed from the creekbeds as would be required to meaningfully reduce the debris flow frequency, intensity, runout or damage on the Cold Spring Creek or Fairmont Creek fans.

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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?

    9 months 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?

    9 months 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.

    9 months 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?

    9 months 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?

    9 months 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?

    9 months 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.

Page last updated: 18 June 2021, 13:58