Lake nears full pool

Water levels are returning back to normal as cleanup begins in Kelowna

Okanagan Lake is expected to near its full pool by this weekend.

After historic high water levels of 343.25 metres above sea level were reached on June 8, the lake level is expected to be 342.48 m by this weekend. Today it is measuring at 342.539 m above sea level.

As area big lakes dip to typical peak water levels and water tables normalize, the threat of flooding which began on May 5 is over for now, according to a Central Okanagan Emergency Operations release.

The next step will have local jurisdictions assess the impact of erosion to public property once receding waters uncover what’s been hiding for two months.

Thumbs up for boating

The lake-level milestone also marks the thumbs up for regular boating and beach activities to resume, according to the release. Local jurisdictions extend their appreciation to residents and visitors for respecting the no wake, low-wake guidelines to reduce erosion to public infrastructure, parks, beaches and residences.

Boaters should remain vigilant and keep speeds down near shorelines and watch for floating debris as nearly 1,000 to 1,500 docks have sustained some level of damage in addition to higher than normal volumes of natural debris.

Sandbag removals continue

The first sweep of sandbag removals is anticipated to be completed by Friday, Aug. 4 by crews along private property in areas in Peachland, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.

Sandbag removals will begin on Westside Road starting Monday, July 31.

In West Kelowna, crews are continuing removals in Casa Loma, Pritchard, Whitworth, Gellatly and Greenbay neighbourhoods.

To keep crews safe, lakeshore property owners with sandbags on docks are requested to relocate the sandbags to higher ground for collection.

The Deadline to register sandbags is Aug. 8 and a quick and easy sandbag recovery application is available.

Residents who have sandbags are asked to notify officials through this application before Aug. 8 or contact the flood recovery information line at 250-470-0674. Sandbags remaining on private property not registered with officials will be the responsibility of property owners and removed at their own cost.

Do-it-yourself sandbag removals

Residents wanting to remove sandbags at their own cost should take precautions while removing sandbags and working around stagnant water. Sandbags that have been sitting in water could contain mould. Residents should wear N95 respirators, nitrile gloves and rubber boots while working and should wash hands and clothes well after handling the bags.

Residents can continue to support flood recovery efforts by bringing sandbags to the street front for pick up and disposal. Burlap and polypropylene bags should be divided into separate piles at the curb.

Debris removal

Barges will continue to remove unnatural debris well into August from the shores of local lakes including unclaimed broken docks, unregistered boats, garbage and barrels, along with large trees or stumps. Damaged docks and pilings still in place are the responsibility of the property owner.

Any debris that residents do not want removed should be clearly marked with “Do Not Remove”, so crews know to leave it behind. This may include sections of dock residents are hoping to repair. If possible, use fluorescent orange flagging tape or paint.

Barge crews are currently working north of the W.R. Bennett Bridge on the east side of the lake. Once completed they will move across to the west side of the lake moving south towards the bridge. Work is continuing in the Mission neighbourhood in Kelowna.

Debris and dock removals are anticipated to be completed by the end of August.

Rebuilding of docks

All residents require authorization from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in order to repair or replace damaged docks. More information is available by contacting the FrontCounter BC at 1-877-355-3222 or online.

Local bylaws may apply and residents can contact their local jurisdiction for details.

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