Crews deal with an onslaught of water from Mill Creek in the Adams Road area of Kelowna during the recent flooding.—Image credit: Capital News file

Kelowna mayor happy with flooding response

Colin Basran says everything that could be done was done.

Kelowna’s mayor says he is happy with the response by emergency personnel to the recent flooding that hit the city.

Colin Basran, speaking during Monday’s council meeting, said the response to the flooding—which prompted a local state of emergency in some areas along Mill Creek—showed the city was prepared despite the damage done to some properties.

“We did everything according to the plan that was in place,” said Basran. “We were as well prepared as we could have been.”

He said the city’s goal was to protect public infrastructure and the safety of residents.

Other member of council also weighed in, saying they feel for people directly affected by the flooding.

“My heart goes out to people who are still literally pumping (out water from their homes) and have discovered they have lost treasured items,” said Coun. Brad Sieben.

Coun. Ryan Donn said he reacted to the flooding not as a local politician but as a resident.

“The community really rallied together,” he said.

Both Basran and Coun. Gail Given, who is also the chairwoman of the Central Okanagan Regional District board, noted this week is Emergency Preparedness Week in B.C. and said the evacuations prompted by the flooding pointed to need for everyone to be ready for an emergency.

Given said everyone should have an “grab and go” kit ready as a precaution.

A kit should contain enough food to last at least 72 hours, required prescriptions, a first-aid kit, cash in small denominations and other necessities. Information about what to include in a kit is available at the the Be Prepared page at cordemergency.ca, she said.

Given also lauded the response of emergency personnel, including emergency social services, which dealt with the people displaced by the flooding and the staff at the emergency operations centre.

“It’s one team in the centre,” she said. “Nobody defines whose community is rated ahead of the other.”

Basran also noted the impact flooding has had on other communities in the region, particularly Cache Creek, where that city’s fire chief is believed to have been killed after he was swept away by rushing water. Clayton Cassidy was out checking on flooding in Cache Creek when he disappeared. Basran expressed his condolences to the family of Cassidy.

OPERATIONAL UPDATE

B.C – Flooding throughout the Central Okanagan has resulted in a number of Evacuation Alerts, Orders and road closures.

Since this morning Evacuation Orders for more than 300 units have been rescinded. Currently there are 45 units in Kelowna, 138 units in the IR#7 and one in Lake Country under Evacuation Order, and 63 units under Evacuation Alert in Lake Country. Check out this map for current Evacuation Alerts, Orders, sand and sandbag locations, and more.

Residents on Evacuation Order should report and register at the Emergency Support Services Reception Centre located in the Salvation Army Church, 1480 Sutherland Avenue (corner of Burtch Road and Sutherland Avenue), which will reopen tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Returning home

Residents and property owners that are no longer under Evacuation Order and now able to access their property need to be aware that properties may not be habitable or have full services, such as electrical and/or natural gas. Residents who have registered with Emergency Support Services can continue to use any unused vouchers.

Residents with property managers should see them to obtain information on the safety and status of their property.

Emergency Management BC has information available for residents returning home after flooding. Some areas of importance include the safety of drinking water, safety regarding electrical and gas utilities, food safety and caution surrounding removal of furniture and building materials. For more information, visit this site.

Evacuation Alert

Residents on Evacuation Alert should be prepared to be away from their homes for an extended period of time, make arrangements for pets and pack essential items such as medicines and important documents. Visit the www.cordemergency.ca/beprepared for more information.

Sand and sandbags

Sandbags are available at City of Kelowna Fire Station #1 at 2255 Enterprise Way. Sand and sandbags are available at Swalwell Park in Lake Country. Sand is available outside the Hotel Eldorado on Cook Road in Kelowna and on Commonwealth Road by Holiday Park in Lake Country.

Disaster Financial Assistance

The BC Government announced that Disaster Financial Assistance is available to Central Okanagan residents affected by the recent flooding. Applications must be submitted by August 5 to Emergency Management BC and are available online at www.gov.bc.ca/disasterfinancialassistance.

Information on Flood Preparedness and Returning After a Flood

The Preparedness BC website has information to help those property owners with protecting their property from flooding and some considerations for those returning after a flood.

Interior Health also has information available for residents to consider Before, During and After a Flood. Information on flooding and electrical safety is also available for BC Hydro and FortisBC (electrical and natural gas) customers: www.bchydro.com and www.fortisbc.com.

The Boil Water Advisory for Westbank First Nation IR#9 continues.

For up to date information on the situation including a map and to sign up for e-updates, visit www.cordemergency.ca. Anyone noticing a potential problem or a flooding concern is asked to call the Kelowna Fire Department at 250-469-8801.