The City of Kelowna says it may install bladder dams, like these ones used during last spring’s flooding in the Central Okanagan, as a precaution against flooding this year from the anual spring runoff. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Flood precaution work continues in Kelowna

City says work will start this weekend to dredge parts of Mill Creek

The City of Kelowna says more work will get underway this weekend to prepare for the spring snowpack melt that flows into the streams and creeks that run through the city.

As part of its freshet preparation plan, Mill Creek dredging will begin Saturday. Residents living along the creek will notice equipment being brought into the area today in preparation for the work that will increase the water flow capacity of the creek.

Lake Avenue Park, the adjacent parking lot and the pedestrian bridge crossing over Mill Creek will be closed as of today for approximately four weeks while the work is being done. The City Park tunnel will remain open and signs will be posted to re-route cyclists and pedestrians.

This area near the mouth of Mill Creek will be the staging area for crews as they increase the creek’s capacity starting at the lake and moving toward Abbott Street.

According to city hall, crews are working through a list of 52 locations in Kelowna that require repairs after last spring’s snowpack melt and the ensuing floods, at a cost of approximately $10.7 million. About $3 million in works completed or underway so far include the repairs to Upper Vernon Creek and Bellevue Creek dredging.

Creek channel capacity restoration projects continue to be the city’s priority right now, with crews doing erosion remediation and more gravel removal from Bellevue Creek. Contractors are also removing vegetation in and around Mill Creek, along with the dredging work.

The city is also continuing to closely monitor all flood factors in consultation with provincial departments, including snow pack levels, temperatures and precipitation forecasts. Freshet flows depend on these factors and at this time is estimated to be roughly three weeks away, said the city in a news release issued Thursday.

As a precautionary measure, staff are preparing to proactively place flood prevention measures such as sandbags or bladder dams in specific areas along Mill Creek.

When reliable information is available about freshet conditions, residents in areas that have been identified as being at an increased risk of creek flooding will be notified and sandbags will be made available to them.

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