Water less than a metre from Summerland home

Rising lake level begins to seep into house in Trout Creek

The back yard of Armando and Grace Gauthier’s back yard of their Nixon Road home is underwater.

As the level of Okanagan Lake continues to rise, the back door of the Gauthier home is less than a metre from the water.

While the living area of the home is still dry, water has seeped into the crawlspace and the Gauthiers are concerned about the effects if the lake level continues to rise.

“It’s less than a foot from the floor joists,” Armando Gauthier said.

The Gauthiers moved into the rental several months ago. At that time, they were able to paddle a canoe under the dock at a neighbouring home. Now, the dock is submerged and weighted barrels have been placed on it, to keep it in place.

When the water began to rise, the couple, along with many Summerland volunteers, erected a sandbag dike at the edge of the property.

A second sandbag dike has since been set up, a few metres closer to the home.

Armando Gauthier hopes the two dikes will help to protect the home from rising waters and wave action on the lake.

At the end of May, they were scheduled to move out of the home.

The ordeal has been stressful for the couple. Over the past two weeks, they have spent more than 50 hours setting up sandbags. Initially, the effort was to protect the land. Now, it has been about protecting the building.

But the dikes have been breached and the water has seeped into the house.

“There’s not much we can do about it,” Armando Gauthier said.

Despite the rising lake level, the Gauthiers say their time in Trout Creek has been a positive experience as they have watched neighbours and volunteers from around the community help fill sandbags and erect dikes in affected areas.

They said the work provided by church groups, participants on the Summerland Locals Helping Locals Facebook group and others has been impressive. Hundreds of people have been out helping in the past few weeks, they said.