City of Kelowna crews are engaged in flood mitigation works all over the city this spring in preparation for the snowpack melt and events such as this week’s heavy rain.
The localized basement flooding some property owners are experiencing is the result of high groundwater or isolated low level snowmelt incidents. Private property owners are responsible for protecting their properties from possible flood damage. Anyone who has historically experienced wet basements or seepage should prepare accordingly.
City crews are conducting advanced planning for freshet, which includes extensive mapping and mitigation works. Water levels in local creeks are not a concern at this time.
“We are monitoring all the flood factors closely with provincial departments,” said Alan Newcombe, Divisional Director, Infrastructure. “As the situation becomes clearer in the days and weeks ahead, we will make sure residents are well informed and, if needed, provided with resources to protect their private property.”
Creek channel capacity restoration projects are the priority right now in anticipation of the snowpack melt, or freshet. They are part of the estimated $10.7-million 2017 Flood Recovery plan, which is 80 per cent funded by Emergency Management B.C. The plan includes the restoration of damage along a number of creeks, lakeshore parks, and public spaces.
“Crews have been out working to remove vegetation, debris, and damage as a result of last year’s flood,” said Fred Schaad, Project Manager for the City of Kelowna.
Channel restoration along Bellevue Creek, damaged during the record setting 2017 flood, is scheduled to begin Monday, March 26, with an anticipated completion date of Monday, April 9.
“There is an increased risk of flooding there if the accumulated gravel on the creek bed is not removed before the 2018 freshet,” said Schaad. “The City has secured the necessary approvals from the government to allow it to restore the channel’s capacity to handle the flow of water to what it was before the flooding last May.”
Crews will be working to remove accumulated gravel as well as install rock armoring at several locations upstream that were damaged during last year’s flood.
Completion of the channel capacity restoration works might take several months and will be slow going and challenging due to all the private properties lining the creeks, with limited access for crews and equipment. However, it is necessary to get into the creeks to remove debris and gravel and restore the creek’s capacity to handle higher volumes of water.
Work that started in January on Upper Vernon Creek is now in the wrap-up phase. Crews will finish the channel construction work there this week and the site is ready for hydro-seeding and planting of trees and shrubs in April. Work included the removal of approximately 2,600 tonnes of concrete, installation of more than 8,000-square-metres of channel bed liner, importing of 12,000 tonnes of rock riprap with boulders up to 5 feet in diameter, excavation, screening, and placement of 9,500 Tonnes of native soils.
At peak production, 18 crew members were on the job with as many pieces of heavy equipment coordinated by contractors Landmark & Woodland Spirits, with channel design by Stantec.
Other works City crews are tending to include Maude Roxby boardwalk repairs to decking and railings and some damaged pilings. Work is also planned for parks and public spaces with damaged walkway pavers, picnic tables, signs and wheelchair ramps.
Residents are also reminded they need permits from the City’s Development Services branch before they reconstruct docks or place any structures across public property.
Property owners living near creeks, streams, low-lying areas and lakefront are responsible for having a plan and protecting their properties. Subscribe to receive email updates or learn more about local, provincial and federal preparedness resources at www.cordemergency.ca