Massive impact of flooding on West Kelowna to be addressed

City’s CAO says work put off to deal with the flooding now has to be done

The cost to West Kelowna of the recent flooding was more than just the $4.1 million of damage done to public infrastructure.

The city says because of the response required by its staff—both on a local and regional level—a great deal of day-to-day city work had to be set aside. And, as result, the city now has to play catch up.

“The flood emergency consumed 27 per cent of weekdays (during the 99-day emergency), which would normally be used to complete council priorities, operational priorities or core work,” says chief administrative officer Jim Zaffino in a report going to council Tuesday.

“The emergency took precedence and resulted in some timeline changes made to both the council and operational priorities. In addition, the core work of the organization also fell behind.”

Much of the delays came from staffing the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, which remains up and running, more than 107 days since it opened.

During the flood emergency—for which the region as a whole has submitted a $20 million bill to the province—and then the subsequent fires, numerous West Kelowna city staff from all departments, along with staff from Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and the regional district, worked long hours at the EOC on a rotating basis.

Because of that, Zaffino says work has fallen behind in several key areas. They include:

• Preparation of the city’s budget and financial plan. Normally city staff work on it during the preceding year to have it ready for council’s first public perusal in November. That has now been pushed back to December, with first reading expected in January 2018.

• The West Kelowna Fire Department’s execution of its 2017 capital plan, training programs and strategic priorities is also now behind schedule. The flooding was the largest emergency the city has ever faced and the fire department was at the forefront of the response, said Zaffino.

• Development services staff were used heavily at the EOC during the flooding and then again during the recovery stage. As a result, several projects were pushed back and several bylaw reviews were delayed. A backlog has been created in other areas too and now needs to be addressed.

• For engineering and public works, because outside crews were so heavily used, numerous summer tasks were not completed, such as sports field maintenance and weed removal. Capital projects were delayed or deferred and gardening, street beautification, sign repairs and playground maintenance were put off.

“The flooding will also have an impact on the budget in two ways,” said Zaffino in his report.

“First, there will be projects that will need to be delayed to 2018 and this will give the illusion that we are under budget. Second, not all damage is recoverable from the province. Staff is in the process of compiling the costs that the city will have to absorb and a report will be forwarded to council with a budget amendment request.”

Just Posted

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

Reworked plan for Kelowna’s Green Square development approved

After rejecting first version of residential development expansion, council says yes to new plan

Police searching for GoPro owner

Police are looking for the owner of a GoPro seized by police in Kelowna

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Two types of civic engagement in PIB

Some voted in the byelection, others protested the polls, as Penticton Indian Band fissures continue

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Most Read