High water threatens Grist Mill

Volunteers worked quickly to fill sandbags and put them in place to protect the mill from high water

Volunteers rushed to the Grist Mill’s rescue Wednesday night as high and fast water threatened the provincial historical site.

Chris Mathieson, operator of the Grist Mill, put a call out through social media for volunteers to help with sandbagging as water levels came within inches of touching the building.

“(It’s) less than a foot from the bottom of the mill itself now and we haven’t even hit the top of the water yet… usually after hot weather this time of year it’s about 36 hours still the creek crests so we are actually worried it may actually come up and touch the mill,” Mathieson said.

The Keremeos Creek, which supplies water to the grist mill when it’s operational, is rushing fast and furious since the warm spell over the weekend.

About eight volunteers answered the call for help, several who were camping at the site as well as a few people from the community. The group worked for over 90 minutes filling over 150 sandbags to secure the building.

“Hopefully we can get this all sandbagged and protect this wonderful piece of similkameen heritage and hopefully the river comes down soon,” Mathieson said just before work began.

The group vigorously filled sandbags and then packed the bags along about 15-feet of the creek’s edge closest to the mill.

Mathieson said the mill lost it’s original water wheel about 100 years ago as high rushing water destroyed it causing it to break off and smash down the creek.

Currently work is underway to rebuild the water wheel. The restoration is part of regular maintenance as water causes the wood to decay overtime.

Mathieson said he was thankful that the wheel was not operational as rushing water going through the mill now would cause a lot more problems.

Currently in the Lower Similkameen there is localized flooding in the Olalla with at least four homes under temporary evacuation on 1st Street. The water is pooling in the area as it’s filtered through Twin Lakes.

On 7th Street in Olalla the Olalla Creek continues to rush through properties. A fair amount of sandbagging has been done in the area to stop the creek from spilling over.

An orchard on Highway 3 just off Upper Bench is also partially flooded from the creek rushing too quickly for the culverts.

Everyone is reminded to stay away from the river and the creeks as banks can erode quickly and water courses change if debris gets in the way.

Just Posted

Mount Eneas fire grows to 1,374 hectares

Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issues evac alerts for properties in Area F.

Summerland winery saved from wildfire

Okanagan Crush Pad is thanking firefighters for saving the Summerland vineyard

Former Peachland mayor passes away

George Waldo served as mayor for a total of 19 years in the 1980s and 1990s

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Update: Fire on Kelowna’s Knox Mountain quickly knocked down

City fire crews responded to report of smoke at the top of the hill Friday afternoon.

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Wildfire near Vernon out as new Sugar Lake fire sparked

Vernon fire snuffed out, but now a new blaze has been discovered near Cherryville

What’s happening this weekend

Follow Social Squad memeber Matthew Abrey to find out what’s happeing this weekend

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Vernon’s Sparrow signs with Wichita

Vernon product headed to ECHL for pro hockey

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Matjicka pulls trick for Silver Stars

Capri Insurance Men’s 55+ Soccer League roundup

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read