Just a few of the local community members and volunteer firefighters who came out by the dozens Monday night — even as darkness set on the community — to mitigate the potential for further damage caused by flooding in the Willowbrook community. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Province removing section of road to help drain Willowbrook

Resident told Western News this week locals advocated in vain for widened culverts for 10 months

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is removing a section of Myers Road in Willowbrook to try to drain the flooded community.

The road will be closed near the corner of Myers Road and Johnson Crescent, with alternate routes available to access all homes in the area, according to a Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Related: Willowbrook resident says province ignored proactive measures

By cutting out a section of the road the ministry hopes the flow along Kearns Creek, restricted by a road culvert, will increase.

Once the road work is complete, the Willowbrook Fire Department, along with the RDOS, will be installing and maintaining a water pump across Carr Crescent to increase water in that area.

The move comes after one Willowbrook resident told the Western News locals have been advocating for 10 months for the provincial government to widen the culverts to mitigate flooding in the area after last year’s floods levelled area basements.

Related: Slowly rising ground water a concern in Willowbrook

In a response, the ministry said at the time that a hydrologist report was commissioned after last year’s flooding to find ways to reduce the risks, which it recently received. But it noted that it would take some time to identify and implement solutions.

Willowbrook has been in a state of local emergency all week, after overflowing ponds upstream from the community compounded with a controlled spill at the Kearns Creek dam — also uphill from the small community — to create a major flooding issue in the area.

In anticipation of the arrival of the water from the controlled spill, which added six inches to the base of the water in the community, local residents and firefighters pulled an all-nighter Monday and into Tuesday loading up sandbags.

Related: Firefighters overflowing with community support

Carr Crescent and Myers Road are parallel to one another, and both cross the main line of water flowing through the community.

Monday night, that area was the main line of defence being fortified by the volunteers, with hopes of keeping the water flow along the creek, without spilling further into local properties.

Those efforts have continued, as the regional district increased sandbag and sand locations in the area this week.

Related: Situation improving in Willowbrook

The regional district says the Kearns Creek Dam has seen a “significant decrease in water levels and continues to be managed closely.”

At the time, the dam was let loose to avoid a breach, which the regional district said could have had far worse consequences.

Property owners in the area are asked to monitor their basements and move valuables off the floor in preparation for higher water levels as snow in the hills continues to melt.

Related: Kearns Creek dam near Willowbrook reaches capacity

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