Come pandemic or high water, the City of Salmon Arm is ready.
The city now has supplies of sandbags and sand available to the public, should they be needed to protect properties.
On Tuesday, April 21, the city posted an advisory on its Facebook page, outlining where sandbags and sand piles can be found.
Unfilled sandbags are available to the public outside the main gate of the public works yard at 100 – 30th St. SE.
While supplies last, sand for the sandbags is available at the overflow parking lot at Little Mountain sports fields, located at 250 30th St. SE, as well as at Blackburn Park along Fifth Street SW. People are asked to bring their own shovels.
At the city, Rob Niewenhuizen, director of public works and engineering, emailed to say that he is not aware of any current flooding issues in Salmon Arm.
“We are just getting ready so we have placed our sand piles and sandbags so that they are ready for public use.”
In the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, no flooding problems have been reported aside from places where Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure maintenance crews have been asked to clear debris from culverts, stated Tom Hansen, emergency program coordinator with the CSRD.
The regional district has received only some isolated requests regarding sand and sandbags, he wrote in an email.
“The Shuswap Emergency Program is monitoring conditions with the support of the province and coordinating the plans for distribution of sand and sandbags to known flood prone areas that may be affected.”
He stated the snow pack in the area is higher than normal so the potential for flooding is increased.
“However, snow pack is one element of seasonal flood risk in B.C. and alone does not predict whether flooding will occur. Spring weather is a critical factor determining the rate that snow melts, and extreme rainfall can also cause spring flooding. Spring freshet poses a seasonal risk across the BC Interior, irrespective of snow pack levels.”
The CSRD will be posting information on its website reminding people who live in flood prone areas to be prepared and telling them where they can access sand and sandbags.
Hansen noted that Shuswap Lake is still low and typically does not reach its peak until June. The river systems tend to peak in May and the smaller creeks are more dependent on recent temperature and rainfall.
In Silver Creek, where residents have seen more than their share of flooding in recent years, some people along the south or Vernon end of the Salmon River Valley are reported to have begun sandbagging.