Taken sometime in the 1950s, showing workers constructing a concrete lining in Penticton Creek. (Photo courtesy City of Penticton)

Taken sometime in the 1950s, showing workers constructing a concrete lining in Penticton Creek. (Photo courtesy City of Penticton)

Creek costs on the rise

Bill for spring flood damage more than doubles

The bill for damage caused by the spring floods, already estimated at over $600,000, took a big jump this week.

Along with Penticton’s beaches, the marina breakwater and the Kiwanis walking pier, both Ellis and Penticton creeks took a hit.

“The 2017 freshet revealed quite a few problems,” said city engineer Ian Chapman, adding that the section of Penticton Creek restored in 2015 showed no obvious signs of damage. “However, there are other areas where significant damage was sustained and the total for that is in excess of $1 million.”

Ellis was the harder hit of the two creeks, according to Chapman, who explained that some of the repair work will need to be done before the creeks begin to rise again in the spring.

Some of that bill may be covered by the Province of B.C., which is already covering about half the $620,264 for previously identified flood damage.

Related: Flood damage for City of Penticton estimated at over $600,000

City council also decided to expand the mandate of Penticton Creek Restoration Committee to include planning, restoration and flood protection issues in Ellis Creek.

“In order to properly and scientifically address the measures needed to address that damage, we really need to undertake a more comprehensive plan of Ellis Creek as well as Penticton Creek,” said Chapman.

Chapman said the committee, which just completed the master plan for restoring Penticton Creek to a more natural state, was an ideal choice, explaining they are “an organization already experienced in guiding that kind of exercise.”

The cost of repairing flood damage in the creek is small in comparison to the cost of completing the restoration of Penticton Creek, which was channelized after the 1948 flood to prevent a reoccurrence of the damage done to the city as the creek overflowed.

Related: Restoring Penticton Creek moves to next stage

“It is not going to be a cheap project by any means. The total for this project is in the region of $30 million,” said Chapman. “Clearly that is quite a considerable amount of money and it is not something we can easily deal with.”

Chapman said funding for the project would have to come from multiple agencies, grants and foundations, including private donations, along with the city.

“There will be potential contributions from a municipal storm utility,” said Chapman. “That particular utility is being developed at the moment, and we anticipate that could go a long way to contributing significant funding in the order of up to $600,000, on average every year.”