Flood prep looking promising

As temperatures continue to heat up in the Okanagan and the snowpack in the mountains continues to melt, Kelowna is bracing for another potential flooding scenario, and crews have been hard at work on preventative measures.

This includes installing just under 10 kilometers of tiger dams and sandbags along creeks, and clearing out debris and invasive trees in those same creeks.

“The Province and the Regional District has had lots of warning that we could have problems similar to last year, says Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Chief Brian Beach. “Luckily we’re getting out ahead of it this year rather than just reacting after it happens.”

So far, $2 million has been spent on flood preparations, but that number could go up depending on how the flooding situation looks in the coming weeks.

“For every dollar you spend in flood mitigation, you’re saving six dollars in flood recovery,” says regional manager of emergency management BC Pete Prendergast. “It’s well worth it.”

Provincial officials, such as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice, have been touring the Central Interior over the last week to look at areas that could be considered a flood-risk.

“We can see the level of preparedness improving every year, but we can never be prepared enough,” says Rice. “We would encourage residents to be safe and to make sure they have their own plans for their own homes.”

Homeowners in Kelowna can protect their properties by visiting one of the several sandbagging locations set up in the area.

Mill Creek continues to be a focal point for flood preparations; a recent local state of emergency allowed crews to access private properties in order to secure City infrastructure in case of flooding.

Properties along Okanagan Lake are not considered to be at risk, since water levels in the Lake are not expected to rise substantially this year.