Cost of flooding piling up

The cost of flooding in the South Okanagan-Smilkameen is cresting $3 million

  • May. 3, 2018 2:22 p.m.

As quick as the snow is melting, the cost of flood relief in the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen is piling up.

From staff overtime to materials, contractors and equipment the bill to manage flooding throughout the region is climbing towards $3 million. Other than regular staff time (estimated at about $60,000), Emergency Management B.C is on the hook for most of the money spent so far.

Up to 62 BCWildfire members are at the Oliver airport sandbagging as well as prisoners at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Paul Edmonds, the emergency services supervisor at the RDOS, said there is currently a hunt on for more pallets for the sandbags to be placed on.

A Local State of Emergency continues for Areas B, D, H, C.

The Willowbrook Area (Area C) outside of Oliver was the first to be significantly hit and flooding about six weeks ago and continues to be a problem with evacuations and alerts still in place.

Edmonds said Sportsmens Bowl Road in spots is between 50 to 80 per cent eroded because of the fast-moving water.

Between Willowbrook and Tulameen (Area H) there have been about two kilometres worth of tiger dams deployed to try and control flooding.

The next area of concern for the regional district is Twin Lakes (Area D), which is rising between six to seven inches each day. Pumping is limited as the water will create even more problems for Willowbrook.

“Twin Lakes is an emerging priority with the inflow of the water there is going to be decisions to be made about evacuation alert,” Edmonds said.

By the numbers:

  • 4 active evacuation orders (Sportsmens Bowl, Tulameen, Secrest Hill, Green Mountain Road)
  • 447 properties on evacuation alert (more expected in Twin Lakes)
  • 376,200 sandbags filled
  • 200,000 more on order
  • 257 sand deliveries across RDOS
  • 3,000 yards of sand delivered
  • 2 kilometres of tiger dams deployed
  • 500 metres of gavion baskets (mostly in Tulameen and Sportsmens Bowl)
  • 62 BCWildfire staff sandbagging
  • 1,760 regular staff time costing $60,000 out RDOS budget
  • 1,623 overtime staff hours costing $116,095 to be paid by the province
  • $3 million to be paid by province for flood relief (staff, contractors, sand, bags, material, etc.)
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