Flooding to Lower Glenrosa Road in West Kelowna —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Regional district preparing residents for floods

Sandbags can be found at the firehalls in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan

Given last year’s widespread flooding across the Central Okanagan, residents are showing a heightened awareness of potential flooding this year.

The Central Okanagan Emergency program, RDCO fire departments, regional parks, public works crews and the BC Ministry of Environment are monitoring creek water levels as the spring runoff is in its very early stages, according to a regional district news release. If needed, the BC River Forecast Centre will issue advisories, watches and warnings for Mission Creek.

Currently, some parts of the region are experiencing localized flooding. There are no imminent threats of flooding in the Central Okanagan electoral areas. An isolated overland flooding issue in the Valley of the Sun subdivision that flooded in the past is being monitored. Depending on the weather, the risk of above average creek levels and potential flooding could rise given the higher than average snowpack at the mid and upper elevations, the news release said.

Those living near creeks, streams and low-lying properties that have had flooding issues in the past are reminded that they are responsible for having an emergency plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect their properties from possible flood damage, the release said.

They should monitor water levels and prepare their properties if they have concerns to reduce the risk of damage from potential flooding. You may want to inspect your properties and adjacent culverts/drainage and clear debris to ensure that they will not impede water flow or redirect water to cause flooding on other properties. Before doing any work in and around water courses or sensitive areas within the electoral areas, check with FrontCounter BC, as you may require special authorization or permits.

Sand and sandbags are available for residents who wish to prepare at four RDCO firehalls:

· Ellison Station 61 – 4411 Old Vernon Road

· North Westside Short’s Creek fire hall Station 102 7355 Westside Road North

· Joe Rich Station 51 – 11481 Highway 33 East

· Wilson’s Landing Station 42 – 2396 Westside Road North

At this time, property owners will be responsible for proper removal and disposal of any sandbags that they deploy.

With higher ground water levels from melting snow and rain, hillside property owners should also be aware of the potential for overland flooding and slides in the event of saturated soil conditions. Information about the potential danger signs property owners should watch for and what you can do is available on the PreparedBC website.

Information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road) as well as on the Be Prepared page of the Regional District Emergency Program website at www.cordemergency.ca.

This week, residents may notice activity in Hardy Falls and Mill Creek regional parks. Bridges that were compromised from last year’s flooding in both parks are being removed to prevent potential damage should there be flooding in Deep and Mill Creeks, the release said.

Unlike neighbouring municipalities, the Regional District does not have the jurisdiction or approvals to dredge or remove sediments that have collected in any creeks or water courses.

All Central Okanagan residents should be cautious around area creeks as water can unexpectedly rise and flow faster. People and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff. Throughout the spring runoff, boaters should look-out for floating debris carried into area lakes from rising and faster flowing tributaries, the release said.

In the event of an emergency activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).

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