Some Sheridan Lake homeowners are appealing their property assessments after arguing extreme water levels have impeded access to their properties.
Roger Bryenton, who owns a 16-acre property with four others, successfully argued in an online submission that the lake has risen by as much two feet higher over historical levels last fall. He maintains the streamflow out of the lake, to the north, is impeded by a small culvert that was installed when Highway 24 was upgraded 30 years ago.
In an online submission, he said the situation has resulted in damage and costs to the four joint property owners, while making about 75 per cent of their property inaccessible. One joint owner described how they had to pay $4,000 for fill and road work, while another saw their cabin badly flooded, with floors submerged, flooring and rugs damaged, pipes broken, and furniture and appliances destroyed.
“They were understanding in terms of our loss of use and the damage,” Bryenton said. “They were reasonable and fair given that we don’t know what the future is going to hold.”
Bryenton and other Sheridan Lake residents have asked the B.C. government to make improvements to the culvert in the area, saying it’s small and outdated. Steve Scrimshaw, who saw a 15 per cent reduction in his assessment of his land only, said the culvert is “completely jammed up with weeds” and needs to be addressed to allow the water to flow out of the lake.
He added he would rather pay higher taxes to keep his land from being flooded every year. “(The culvert) really can’t handle the volume and volume is being held back by the debris,” he said.
“We’re hoping the government recognizes the loss of revenue through the assessments and it’s an incentive for them to correct the problem.”
A spokesperson for the B.C. government did not specifically address what is being done in terms of the Sheridan Lake culvert. However, they did say the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has been conducting works in response to last year’s events as well as incremental maintenance to improve the resiliency of road infrastructure for future events, especially in wildfire-impacted areas.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and its maintenance contractor are also continually monitoring all areas throughout the Cariboo district, identifying ‘watch sites’ and responding as appropriate.
The Cariboo Regional District raised concerns earlier this month about the spring freshet, saying water levels are already higher than usual this year, putting pressures on both roads and culverts across the region.