Kelowna’s mayor says he has no regrets warning residents of his city they could see local creek levels rise to heights never before seen here only to have his dire predictions not come to pass on the weekend.
“I would rather people be over-prepared than under-prepared,” said Colin Basran Monday, after drier than expected weekend weather helped water levels drop slightly in some cases.
Late last week, Basran appeared in a city-produced video, released on the internet and the city’s website as well as distributed to local media, in which he sombrely warned residents to be prepared for a deluge this past weekend.
On Monday, he said his call for preparations against the possibility of more flooding still stands, as weather experts are calling for warmer weather that could melt snow at higher levels and send more water cascading down local creeks into Okanagan Lake.
With more water flowing into the lake, its level is also rising and that could produce even more flooding problems for homes in low-lying areas and near the lake, he said.
“We are not out of this yet,” Basran said following Monday afternoon’s council meeting.
While happy the flooding scenario predicted by emergency officials based on weather reports did not come to pass on the weekend, he said all the warnings were made based on the information the city was given.
“I don’t think anyone has ever been as happy the weather office was wrong as we were on the weekend,” said Basran.
While he acknowledged his city dodged a bullet with the weekend weather, he cautioned there is more rain in the local forecast for tonight and that could lead to more problems.
He said in addition to making sure they are prepared with “grab and go” kits containing essentials like medications, valuables, food, water and clothing, residents should also not remove sandbags that are in place just yet.
The mayor said he was pleased with the city’s response to the flooding as part of the regional emergency operations centre, which that was set up to respond to the first wave of flooding that the city experienced last week. He also publicly thanked emergency officials, city and regional crews, the provincial wildfire firefighters sent in to help, Emergency Social Services and residents who lent a hand to help their neighbours.
All that (city crews) did was the result of good planning,” said Basran.
He cited moves such as getting information out to the public as quickly and as early as possible, working on the dikes of local creeks, such as Mission Creek, installing the Aqua Dam to hold water back from affecting critical municipal infrastructure and clearing debris from local creeks to try and mitigate flooding as much as possible.