Barbara Hart has been finding it easier to sleep at night this spring now that she doesn’t have to worry about nearby McDougall Creek being breached by high stream flow.
Two years ago, Hart watched water rush toward her house as she and her neighbours tried to get sandbags in place to protect their properties.
“We had damage to the basement. Twice we had to get in there with Stutters (restoration company) and get the carpets peeled back and the drywall redone,” said Hart.
So Hart was relieved when Premier Christy Clark promised to tackle the McDougall Creek flooding problem shortly after her Westside-Kelowna byelection victory last July.
“We knew if it wasn’t done for this flooding season, we would have another major problem.”
Clark held a press conference on Hitchner Road Wednesday afternoon to announce the completion of the McDougall Creek flood mitigation work.
“When I asked people here in Westside-Kelowna to give me their support, I made a few very specific promises about things that I would accomplish,” said Clark.
“This was one of them.”
The $585,000 project was primarily funded through B.C.’s flood protection program, with the provincial portion covering two-thirds of the work.
The remaining cost was paid for by the District of West Kelowna, which included a claim for $75,000 through the provincial disaster financial assistance program for removing debris and temporary emergency works from McDougall Creek to restore the creek to its pre-disaster condition.
“These homeowners will now no longer have to fear the spring thaw every year,” said Clark.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said with the permanent fix vegetation had to be removed while the channel was deepened to mitigate the ongoing flooding issues.
“We had an environmental engineer who oversaw this project every step of the way,” said Findlater.
“It was crucial for residents and council that the primary focus (was) to restore the bank’s natural vegetation and rehabilitate and keep fish habitat.
“I think it’s going to be a beautiful little creek to come down and be beside as it gets some green vegetation.”