Area “G” director Elef Christensen’s pleas to the provincial government for help in resolving spring flooding issues in Keremeos Creek near Olalla have paid off.
Speaking to Ministry of Environment officials at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in February, Christensen requested a timetable for funding to repair dikes along the Similkameen that had been damaged in the 2005 floods.
The ministry responded that the province had no more money for dikes, so the prospect for getting any repair work done in the immediate future would seem to be slim.
However, the Ministry of Public Safety was interested in looking at the annual runoff problems with Keremeos Creek.
Flooding of the cow pastures surrounding the creek north of Olalla, it is feared, could contaminate the water with animal waste, creating a risk of E-coli bacteria getting into the creek.
The flooding as a result of sediment aggregation in Keremeos Creek has also caused water ponding to persist. This raises concerns of elevated water tables which could have an impact on nearby septic fields, as well as providing a fertile breeding site for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes immediately to the south of this area have been identified to carry West Nile Virus, which is feared could spread into the area if the sediment aggradation persists.
Christensen was recently awarded a grant of $25,000 to hire a qualified professional to perform an assessment of Keremeos Creek and determine the severity of the concerns. The study would analize the following:
– perform a high level assessment of the area.
– estimate sediment source and deposition areas.
– sediment quantities involved.
– potential contamination sources.
– indicate linkages to public health issues.
– develop a plan of recommended next steps.
The study is expected to get underway as soon as a consultant can be hired.