Province to pay for $30,000 flood fight in Kelowna
City officials came within an inch of failing to squeeze the equipment needed to save a Truswell Road property into the affected area of the bank to prevent an apartment building from washing down Mission Creek last night.
At a press conference held beside the creek Friday morning, in front of the apartment block at 549 Truswell, civic operations director Joe Creron said the heavy duty machinery needed to pile rocks along the riverbank and remove a tree, thereby saving the riverbank and adjacent apartments, almost could not make it between the buildings, the neighbourhood is built so tight.
"To be honest with you, we got lucky. I was talking to staff this morning and we've got to be talking to our planning people and our engineering people. We're always going to have problems along creeks and we've got to make sure we start thinking about that. How are we going to get in and out of these places? Because a lot of our older areas, you just can't get in," said Creron.
In order to rescue the building, city staff needed to build a gravel road into the creek to stabilize the machinery, which had started to sink into the unstable bank, threatening gas lines that run underneath servicing the buildings.
Creron estimates $30,000 was spent in the one evening under state of emergency conditions—and he isn't ruling out the possibility other emergency operations might be needed before the water levels return to normal in Okanagan Lake.
"It looks a little bit down, but there is some predictions we could be going up to 80 cubic metres per second by Monday," he said. "That's just a prediction at this point in time, but it did go up to 90, I think, a bit earlier in the week. So we'll be prepared."
Okanagan Lake is at full pool and water levels are predicted to rise two centimetres per day, leaving homes along the river in a perilous position and downtown homes and businesses facing trouble.
Pumps are in place to protect some of the civic structures in the downtown core, following flooding last spring that saw city buildings and private homes struggle with water flowing into basements.
The provincial government will pay for the evening's work and washout at Bullman Road.