The Board of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) unanimously agreed to temporarily stop issuing building permits or conducting building inspections in fire-impacted areas of the Shuswap until the results of geotechnical assessments are complete.
Wildfires, especially those of the size and scale of the Bush Creek East Wildfire, change the soil, vegetation, watercourses and other natural features of the area. This can significantly increase the risk of landslides, flooding, rockfall and erosion.
The decision on the moratorium was released from the closed portion of the CSRD’s Regular Board meeting that took place Thursday, September 14, 2023.
BGC Engineering Ltd. has already started work on the assessment, which covers areas of the North Shuswap, Adams Lake and Sorrento.
See the map below for the affected area.
“Throughout this emergency, public safety has been the number one priority. It is critical we continue to ensure the safety of residents from the potential hazards that come into play for these burned areas,” says Gerald Christie, Manager of Development Services.
“Once we have more information about the level of risk, we will be able to remove properties in low-risk areas from the moratorium.”
It is expected that preliminary findings from BGC Engineering may be known in four to six weeks, with the full assessment taking up to three months.
Property owners may be exempted from the temporary moratorium if they submit a report from a certified professional engineer or geoscientist that their land may be used safely.
The moratorium does not mean that residents can not start to take steps towards rebuilding. There are several steps a property owner will need to take, including property clean-up and danger tree assessments, prior to moving into the building permit stage. Planning requirements also need to be confirmed with the CSRD prior to applying for a building permit.
For more information on the next steps for a particular property, email the building department at [email protected]
Questions about land-use planning in the CSRD can be directed to [email protected]
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