Shuswap Falls Hydro park is under water near Lumby June 1, 2020. (Ardis Miller photo)

North Okanagan bands together to block flood water

Creeks swollen and flowing over roads near Lumby, threatening properties

Some Lumby residents worked all night to protect properties as water levels rose rapidly Monday, June 1.

Water is up to the top of the fence at the Shuswap Falls hydro park and creeks have swollen and are coming up over banks and roads, such as Mabel Lake Road near the lake and Whitevale Road.

“A big thank you to all those wonderful people that showed up tonight and stayed ‘til 4 a.m. to help with the sandbagging,” said Tony Schilter, on a Lumby Facebook group. “I’ve got the skid steer on standby now for anyone who needs help.”

It’s not the first time the community has come together to help friends and neighbours.

“Lumby people always seem to come together in times of need,” said resident Norma Bouzek.

But sadly, it’s not the first time the community has been plagued by flood waters. It’s become an annual occurrence for Lumby. And despite efforts to keep protections in place, the village is forced to remove them every year.

Whatever goes in is considered temporary and needs to be removed within a certain time period, through Emergency Management British Columbia.

“The DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) came out and said, ‘you are in violation and have done damage to the creek and you need to take it out,’” said Mayor Kevin Acton, of massive berms that were put in place to retain high water and in turn saved more than $20-million worth of infrastructure each year.

Despite attempts to convince DFO to allow the berms to remain in place, there were apparent damages to salmon habitat.

Meanwhile, a permanent solution seems impossible to the high-water problems that plague Lumby every year.

“It’s frustrating,” said Acton. “We’ve been forced to remove millions of dollars worth of work.”

There are gabion dikes — metal baskets filled with rock or sand — being put in place, but will again be taken out once the flood risk eases.

“I don’t understand why we don’t just put it in and leave it,” Acton said.

READ MORE: High water floods Cherryville park

READ MORE: Flood potential puts Lumby on evacuation alert


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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