Water rushing down Sportsmens Bowl Road near the junction with Highway 97 spills over stacks of sandbags, even as B.C. Wildfire Service crews work to bolster the area’s barriers. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

South Okanagan community gets kudos for proactive flood work

City of Penticton also taking proactive measures on local creeks to ease water flow ahead of freshet

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is congratulating the community of Hayes Creek for coming together to mitigate flood risks in the area.

The RDOS has been pushing the message of being proactive in protecting properties against flooding over the past few weeks, and now they are pointing to Hayes Creek, a community along the Princeton-Summerland Road, as an example.

““Fifteen Hayes Creek fire members and 37 awesome community volunteers filled and placed over 1,000 sandbags in five at-risk locations using shovels, a bobcat, and four tractors in two hours,” said Hayes Creek Fire Chief Rob Miller in a news release. “It is still winter here and the creeks are just trickling. But in a few weeks they will be roaring.”

Click on the picture for an interactive map with all of the places where sand (orange) or sandbags (purple) have been dropped off in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen this spring.
Image courtesy Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
Click on the picture for an interactive map with all of the places where sand (orange) or sandbags (purple) have been dropped off in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen this spring.

Image courtesy Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

The regional district has been dropping off sand and sandbags at various at-risk locations in the region, with particular concentration on the Willowbrook and Sportsmens Bowl Road areas, where residents are in the thick of flooding.

Property owners can request sand and sandbags for their area, including existing sites where the sand or bags have been depleted or in areas where flooding is likely to occur soon. The RDOS does not deliver to private homes, but will provide a community pick up location.

The City of Penticton announced Friday morning crews will be working in Penticton and Ellis creeks to improve water flow ahead of the spring freshet.

The work, scheduled to start immediately, according to city engineer Ian Chapman, will also add “rock armouring” to protect from erosion in the creeks.

“Members of the public may observe excavators and trucks near both creeks and are asked to proceed carefully in the vicinity of this activity,” Chapman said in a news release.

The work being performed to Ellis Creek has received special approval from the Province in accordance with proactive emergency preparedness. Work along the Penticton Creek is being carried out through the normal permitting requirements.

This comes as rural Oliver areas battle flooding at levels which many residents say they have never seen before. That flooding has come from heavy precipitation in the region, with many residents worried that this year’s spring freshet could exacerbate the issue.

The snowpack is last reported to be at 152 per cent of normal, which has officials in the Okanagan working to mitigate potential flooding ahead of time.

Last year’s freshet brought flooding throughout the B.C. Interior, even disrupting polling locations in some areas during the May 9 election.

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