City of Greenwood won’t take over Providence Dam

At its last council meeting on July 9, the City of Greenwood decided not to take over responsibility of Providence Dam located at Marshall Lake.
Greenwood Mayor Nipper Kettle explained that the lake is not the city’s responsibility.
“We are not willing to take over ownership of the dam, there’s just too much risk involved and too much liability,” he said. “The ‘what ifs’ are just too great, especially when you look around now at what’s going on around British Columbia. It’s not the same, but it is a concern.”
Kettle is referring to the mudslide at Johnson’s Landing, as well as the mudslide near Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, north of Cranbrook.
Greenwood council made the unanimous decision prior to the July 13 deadline imposed by the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“Personally I think the dam is safe, but it’s hard to say with what’s happening now,” said Kettle. “I do know that we can’t afford to take it on and it’s not our responsibility.”
Tara White, senior fisheries biologist for Fish and Wildlife Section of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations out of Penticton, stated that the removal of the dam was the ministry’s first option.
“We’re currently conducting a feasibility analysis of the costs and logistics, design options and timeline schedules to decommission the dam,” she said. “When the feasibility analysis is complete, there will be considerations to look at.”
White pointed out items could include where the dam should be breached, to what level, where the best spot would be, and the implications to the landowners. The Fisheries and Wildlife Section only owns the lake and not the surrounding property.
“After the feasibility study is concluded, we will be consulting with adjacent landowners for potential impacts and that their concerns are
addressed,” said White. “The feasibility study should be done within the month.”
Christopher Stevenson the founder and organizer of the Marshall Lake Stewardship Society, said, “At this point we have to wait and see what steps the Ministry will take.”
He added, “At a certain point we are going to have to make a decision and say, are we going to allow them to go in with excavators to take it out or are we going to do something about it?”
Stevenson noted the stewardship society is looking at several possible appeals, including the loss of property value. He recently found a separate case study surrounding this issue that describes an aspect of the situation he believes the ministry hasn’t taken into consideration.
“As soon as they do something to this lake and make their lakeshore into mud, their property value will spiral down,” he pointed out. “The ministry will have to compensate them.”
Diane Gottselig, the property owner, who has a cabin located near the lake, wrote a post on the stewardship society’s Facebook page stating the low water levels over the past few summers have made it difficult for them to access their cabin.
“We have to walk across a huge ditch with over a foot of water in it,” she wrote. “We have not been contacted with plans for how we will be able to access our property this summer. The property was bought with the certificate stating lakeshore property.”
She noted that should the lake be reduce to its original state, all that would be left is weeds and mud on their side of the lake.
“This will make it unable for us to swim, use the beach and just generally difficult to enjoy the property,” Gottselig said. “We use the property very frequently and have a lot of family and friends who enjoy it with us.”
Gottselig is also concerned about how the reduced lake size would affect the animals that use or live there.
In less than a week, the stewardship society has collected more than 800 signatures for a petition. The signed petitions were delivered to the Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thompson, while the online petition will be forwarded to Premier Christy Clark.
“The feasibility study should be done within the month.”
Christopher Stevenson, the founder and organizer of the Marshall Lake Stewardship Society, said, “At this point we have to wait and see what steps the ministry will take.”
He added, “At a certain point we are going to have to make a decision and say, are we going to allow them to go in with excavators to take it out or are we going to do something about it?”
Stevenson noted the stewardship society is looking at several possible appeals, including the loss of property value. He recently found a separate case study surrounding this issue that describes an aspect of the situation he believes the ministry hasn’t taken into consideration.
“As soon as they do something to this lake and make their lakeshore into mud, their property value will spiral down,” he pointed out. “The ministry will have to compensate them.”
Diane Gottselig, the property owner who has a cabin located near the lake, wrote a post on the stewardship society’s Facebook page stating the low water levels over the past few summers have made it difficult for them to access their cabin.
“We have to walk across a huge ditch with over a foot of water in it,” she wrote. “We have not been contacted with plans for how we will be able to access our property this summer. The property was bought with the certificate stating lakeshore property.” She noted that should the lake be reduce to its original state, all that would be left is weeds and mud on their side of the lake.
“This will make it unable for us to swim, use the beach and just generally difficult to enjoy the property,” Gottselig said. “We use the property very frequently and have a lot of family and friends who enjoy it with us.”
Gottselig is also concerned about how the reduced lake size would affect the animals that use the lake or live there.
In less than a week, the stewardship society has collected more than 800 signatures for a petition. The signed petitions were delivered to the Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thompson, while the online petition will be forwarded to Premier Christy Clark.

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