Every year, typically in May, water levels run high through Kimberley’s creeks due to snow melt from the alpines and rain.
In 2012, Morrison Subdivision suffered a massive flood, effecting habitats, roads, and homes in Kimberley. To date, The City of Kimberley and community members have been working on efforts to improve Kimberley Creek, the Morrison Subdivision, and the imminent risk of another flood.
Ambassador for the Morrison Subdivision and community, Tony Klassen, explained at a City Council meeting on Monday, May 8 that the flooding of Kimberley Creek is an ongoing problem made more difficult by the fact that the creek runs through private properties.
“Kimberley Creek is a resource to our community but it’s one that has to be maintained,” said Klassen.
“With every spring comes more erosion to the creek bank, more sedimentation in the creek bed, more growth from opportunistic plants that love the water just as much as we do, but don’t help at all in dealing with the volume of ice and water that builds up in spring.”
“I learned from [Manager of Operations] Mike Fox, that fundamentally the City’s hands are tied because as it directly impacts our community, all of those culverts, all of the problems with the bank; it’s on private property,” said Klassen.
“So there’s very little the City can actually do in terms of work there because you [the City] don’t own the property. “
Councillor Darryl Oakley said that the City has been trying to work on mitigating the issues with Kimberley Creek flooding Morrison Subdivision since 2012, and most of the initiatives are based around applying for grant funding.
“There’s a lot of initiatives yet to be done that are in the report, and I know in chatting with [Chief Administrative Officer] Scott [Sommerville], that some of those initiatives are grant funds that we can go after, and the City has always been trying to stay in front of all this and go after grants where it might fit,” said Oakley.
“They [the City] have never lost sight of that; they are not waiting for another flood to happen, I know that the City, since 2012, has been trying to work on the issues that are there. It’s private property so we’ve got to have a strong partnership there, going forward, to figure something out and how to deal with that.”
Klassen suggested, “as a smaller community of Morrison Subdivision, we find ourselves in a place of opportunity not unlike the Flume project.”
Chief Administrative Officer, Scott Sommerville replied, “it’s sad that we are still having the same issues.
“We are working on the grizzly down through town to improve the storm and to daylight the creek, which means, take it out of the encasement that it’s standing in, which is too small, and open it up so it can be both enjoyed through coronation park, but also relieve some of the pressure that hits the neighbourhood.
“We’ve been a bit reluctant to talk about acquiring private property; that is an option I know a lot of the neighbourhood is here [at council], but finding consensus on that might be difficult.
“For the City to go and do something like the Flume, we would actually have to own the property which would dramatically alter the neighbourhood which you all love so much for at least 11 months of the year. Hopefully we can get some uptake on the next grant application.”
Klassen took it upon himself to become an ambassador for the neighbourhood not only because of his love for Kimberley and the Morrison Subdivision but also because he wanted to learn as much as he could about what is going on.
“Our whole community owes it’s very existence to the water that’s so plentiful here. You cannot grow a community of any kind without the life that’s in water,” said Klassen.
“It’s been challenging for everyone; us as a community, as a City, most particularly involved with the business of managing a community, but us as a neighbourhood as well, inheriting others very likely best intentions.
“But perhaps it could be thought of as a suit of clothes that doesn’t fit us very well anymore, as we have all grown.”