Sandbag removal is underway in certain areas.

Sandbag removal begins

Kelowna - There are about 1.7 million sandbags throughout the Central Okanagan

While some properties are no longer at risk of flooding, Central Okanagan properties along the foreshore and adjacent to mouths of creeks continue to be of concern due to historical lake levels.

Crews throughout the region will continue to assess and bolster flood protection as needed and residents in these areas are encouraged to do the same. Protective measures along the foreshore in all Central Okanagan municipalities are expected to remain in place for an extended time due to the high lake levels.

However certain areas are able to start to remove flood barriers.

With the exception of the foreshore, sandbags along properties that have not been in contact with water for at least two weeks are considered safe to be removed. These areas include:

Mill Creek – upstream of Pandosy Street

Brandts Creek – upstream of Richter Street

Fascieux Creek – upstream of Gordon Drive

Scotty Creek – all

Middle Vernon Creek – upstream of Woodsdale Road

The next steps for local governments will be conducting and coordinating the removal of sandbags on private and public properties no longer at risk. There will be no cost to residents. Currently crews are demobilizing protective measures on public infrastructure and are expected to begin demobilizing protective measures on private properties next week.

Removals will take place located inland away from Okanagan Lake and on creeks that are outside of current flood advisory areas. This coordinated approach for the collection and disposal of sandbags will ensure the safest and most efficient way, minimizing ecological impact to property, creeks, streams, area lakes, wildlife habitat and ensuring the health of citizens.

Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied on beaches or into any creeks, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities. Report violations to Natural Resource at 1 877-952-7277, (Option 2) toll-free or #7277 on a cellphone.

Residents wanting to drop of their own sandbags at their cost can do so at the following depots:

Kelowna

Cook Road Boat Launch outside the Hotel Eldorado – Mission

Burtch Road – Apple Bowl Parking Lot

District of Lake Country

Woodsdale Road – Beasley Park Parking Lot

In most instances, sand used for flood protection in the Central Okanagan can be treated as clean soil and be used as general fill, substitute aggregate in construction applications or blending into gardens. If it is questionable that sandbags have come into contact with bacteria or chemicals and oils, personal usage is discouraged and residents should include in the collection of sandbags.

There are approximately 1.7 million sandbags equalling 1500 truckloads of sand throughout the Central Okanagan.

For more information contact the Information Office at 250-469-8490 or 1-877-569-8490 (toll-free).