Flood protection for residences on Marshall Street, along Mill Creek in Kelowna.                                -Image: Matthew Abrey

Flood protection for residences on Marshall Street, along Mill Creek in Kelowna. -Image: Matthew Abrey

Residents along Mill Creek brace for potential flooding

The creek levels in Kelowna aren’t yet as threatening as a year ago

By Matthew Abrey

Residents with properties along Mill Creek are once again bracing themselves for potential flooding, although there does seem to be some glimmers of hope sprinkled in among the preparations.

“On the weekend it affected us a little bit, because we were wondering if we should pack bags or not,” said Nicole Samuelson, one of the residents whose home backs onto Mill Creek. “Just because last summer it ended up getting over and into our crawlspace and damaging some things, so we were just kind of preparing for this year, but the city has set up the sandbags, so it has kind of protected us more.”

Samuelson also noted that the creek’s water levels have actually dropped significantly in recent days, which is something that didn’t happen last year at this time.

“By this point, we aren’t as worried. We were yesterday and the day before, because we for sure thought it was gonna be the same, but after seeing it drop, which it didn’t do last year, we kind of realized it wasn’t going to be as bad, and we aren’t as nervous,” she said.

“We have taken precautionary measures,” said Kellen Macblain with BC Wildfire Service, who have crews around town filling and stacking sandbags. “Going up the creek we have sandbags in all the critical areas.”

As is obvious in the name, BC Wildfire Services are typically out fighting wildfires in the province, but have been called in to assist with the sandbagging and prevention efforts.

“We enjoy the work we do,” said BC Wildfire Services Strike Team Leader, Brad Lamothe. “We enjoy fighting fires, but this is the next best thing, to assist communities in need, and ideally, hopefully it doesn’t become a flood incident like last season, but if we can be a part of that solution in preventing floods, then we’re happy to do it.”

Sand bags are available to Central Okanagan residents at 15 locations, including two in Kelowna at the Apple Bowl and Rowcliffe Park.

For the time being, the levels in Okanagan Lake are not considered to be a concern.

Visit cordemergency.ca for the most up to date information on the flood situation in the Central Okanagan.

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