Columbia Valley Pioneer Staff

The Cold Spring Creek Debris Flow Mitigation Project has been given a $2.5 million boost following a vote of approval by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) on June 9.

Electoral Area F director Susan Clovechok expressed her delight, saying it’s a “critical” project right now.

“I am deeply grateful to my fellow directors for recognizing and appreciating the urgency of approving these additional funds,” she said.

The move comes after increasing construction costs and inflationary pressures have strained the project’s budget. 

Clovechok explained the construction tenders they received were all over budget and the project team worked hard to streamline costs and look at other funding sources. “However, that left us with insufficient funds to complete the mitigation works,” she pointed out.

The project’s overall budget is $13.6 million with funding from: Adaption, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation Program ($9,723,000), Growing Communities Fund                                                                   ($1,500,000), Fairmont Flood and Landslide Service Area (1,150,000), UBCM Community Preparedness Fund ($750,000), and Community Works Fund ($475,000).

The RDEK outlined a short-term borrowing plan, which will be repaid by temporarily ceasing contributions to reserves and increasing taxation within the current maximums permitted under the bylaw. Anticipated savings from the 2023 budget year will also be applied to the borrowing to “minimize impacts as much as possible.”

The project is largely funded through grants, but the RDEK pays for the work up front and then submits the claims to the province for reimbursement, which can take several months for processing. To help the RDEK manage cash flow throughout the project the board also approved the short-term borrowing of $9 million from the Municipal Finance Authority.  

Preliminary work has already started on the mitigation project with construction of an access road and clearing. The major portion of the construction is anticipated to begin this summer by MacKay Contracting Ltd.

A project page has been set up at

During early season inspections on May 3, it was discovered that a moderate debris flood event occurred on Cold Spring Creek and Fairmont Creek due to high temperatures and rapid snow melt. Debris removal and environmental monitoring is occurring. The contractor will also remove debris from Fairmont Creek Weir 1 Basin that occurred in 2022.