Culvert tampering likely to blame for Cooke Creek mudslide

VERNON–An extensive investigation into the Cooke Creek debris flood that happened east of Enderby reveals it may not have been a natural occurrence.

On May 2, 2014, Dale Lake spilled its banks, broke through a roadway, and spilled down Cooke Creek, picking up debris as it went.

Courtesy/Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

The massive debris flow knocked out a bridge, took down power lines and destroyed about 100 metres of road.

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The Kingfisher Interpretive Centre was hit especially hard.

Now the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations believes someone may have tampered with the culverts at Dale Lake, causing the slide.

Patrick Tobin is a Compliance and Enforcement Branch Manager with the Thompson Okanagan Region of the Ministry.

He says geomorphologists, engineering specialists and dam experts were brought to the site, and 26 people were interviewed.

Aerial photographs were taken and evidence on site was examined before it was determined the problem was probably human-caused.

“It’s the most likely outcome,” says Tobin.

The ministry is asking anyone with information to come forward by calling the Natural Resource Violation line at

1 (844)-NRO-TIPS, or go to their website.

Reports can be anonymous.

Anyone found guilty of causing environmental damage as a result of tampering with culverts on Crown land could face fines between $575 and $100,000.

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