The City of Penticton has started planning to address expected flooding issues on Ellis Creek. A self-serve sandbag facility has been set up at Fire Hall No. 202 (285 Dawson Avenue) for people to fill their own bags. (File)

City of Penticton prepares for spring freshet, expected flooding in some areas

Residents who have experienced flooding in previous years are urged to start planning now

The City of Penticton has started planning to address expected flooding issues in some areas of the city, including on Ellis Creek.

This comes as the City’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) starts taking proactive measures to prepare for potential flood risk during the spring freshet.

Residents who have experienced flooding in previous years, especially along Ellis Creek, are urged to start planning now. Those in areas where bank erosion is an issue are being asked to move their personal items away from the river banks.

A self-serve sandbag facility has also been set up at Fire Hall No. 202 (285 Dawson Avenue) for people to fill their own bags.

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The City explained that the EOC is closely monitoring snowpack and water flows, and crews have begun making sandbags for use at culverts, bridges and along the top of the creek bank at select locations.

“Ellis Creek has been identified as a potential flood location and we are ready to respond proactively. We have developed detailed plans and we’re getting ready to begin work on the creeks,” said Penticton Fire Chief and EOC Deputy Director, Larry Watkinson.

“If you are a resident of Penticton and have experienced flooding in previous years, especially along Ellis Creek, it’s time to start planning now.”

The City is currently contacting residents and land owners adjacent to Ellis and Penticton Creeks to warn them of the potential flood risk. They are also monitoring Penticton Creek water flow, and as flows increase, daily and nightly inspections will be conducted in known trouble spots.

Flooding at Okanagan Lake, the City explained, is not anticipated to be an issue due to advance work completed by the Province of BC to lower the lake level. The EOC will continue to track snowpack, temperatures, precipitation and weather forecasts and monitor the 2020 flood situation during regular flood calls.

Residents are reminded to keep a safe distance away from the creeks, which are expected to move dangerously fast as water volumes increase.

According to the City, action plans have also been created to ensure swift and effective response amid COVID-19.

For more information about the freshet, as well as emergency preparedness tips, visit the City’s Flood Preparedness & Response website page at

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