The Wetland Alliance: The Ecological Response now has direct evidence that the Salmon River overtops its banks far more often than previously believed. In fact, water pours from the river into the floodplain every second or third year and spreads out harmlessly, while being stored and filtered, and creating fish habitat.
Consequently, fill recently placed near the riverbank constitutes a clear violation of the Fisheries Act. We are approaching Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the provincial Ministry of the Environment with this new evidence.
In addition, we have commissioned a brief study from BGC Engineering, authored by flood expert Dr. Matthias Jakob, which echoes another study presented a few days ago to the City Council and staff, prepared by senior scientific expert Dr. Mike Church for the Neskonlith Indian Band. Both studies strongly recommend the same thing: they call for a detailed analysis of flood patterns associated with spring runoff in the Salmon River, and with back-flooding from Shuswap Lake, before any further development takes place. This recommendation was also put forward several months ago by CP Rail.
All of these data have been submitted to the City.
There is wide agreement in the scientific world, and increasingly in government circles, that development in floodplains is extremely risky, and is likely to end up costing communities huge amounts of money at regular intervals. The TV, newspapers and radio are full of reports of flooding, flood damage and the vast amount of money that is spent repairing this damage.
We believe that our community should take firm action to avoid this kind of unnecessary financial risk, and to protect the valuable features of our floodplain.