Flooding Recovery Well Underway

Flood Recovery Well Underway in Peachland

Although we are nearing the end of summer, the State of Emergency declared by the District of Peachland, due to the ‘well above average’ freshet season, just ended on July 31. The predicted 200 year flood levels resulted in the highest Okanagan Lake level since 1948, exceeding 343m. Public Safety and Protection Manager Shaun Reimer, from the Provincial Government (the man in charge of the dam in Penticton) says more water entered Okanagan Lake during the first three weeks of the flood emergency than in the entire drought years of 1929, 1930 and 1931 combined.

With such an impact to our community, there has been substantial efforts throughout the event by a multitude of municipal staff, regional / provincial agencies and volunteers in response and recovery efforts. Working collaboratively with the Central Okanagan Regional District (CORD), Emergency Management BC (EMBC), Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) all available resources have been deployed to assist. Protecting public infrastructure and ensuring the safety of the public has been paramount in these emergency operations for all agencies.

As we approach fall, the District of Peachland wanted to share an update to the recovery efforts and progress to date.

To recap, May 4 was the first day of this historic Flood Event. Throughout May and June, District staff responded to wide-spread destruction caused by debris flows, road washouts, severe heavy winds and major flooding. Saturation along the shoreline and seepage under Beach Avenue impacted businesses, residents and public property. Immediate measures were required on the foreshore to mitigate erosion that was occurring especially during several wind storms, thankfully to the quick action of response teams, infrastructure was protected with minimal repair to public roadways, however our shoreline has suffered extensive damage.

Municipal staff tirelessly worked through emergency efforts and in conjunction, where possible, recovery efforts were initiated. Staff monitored high risk sites daily across the community identifying and marking hazards while removing extensive debris from parks and beaches. Damage assessments were ongoing as the water receded.

A part-time Recovery Director was hired in June to help with the restoration efforts. A critical piece of this role will assist the community with financial recoveries to recuperate a large portion of costs from the Provincial and Federal assistance programs. Expense recoveries include costs for site assessments by Structural and Shoreline Engineers, Hydrologists, Environmental Monitors, Project Supervisors, dock assessments, along with the Recovery Director position and construction works by subcontractors. All professionals were retained back in July.

Public property was restored with local staff where possible including repairs to the Day Use Wharf, boat / swim docks and opening boat launches as hazard assessments were completed. Property owners were still pumping water from their property into August, as such the municipality continued to assist with support services and traffic management. Public buildings sustained damage including the Wellness Centre and the Community Policing Office. Additional activities include hazard tree / limb removal, re-establishment of parking areas and temporary repairs to beachfront pathways. Construction estimates are already in progress on some of the major projects identified. Additionally on August 22, after reviewing several quotes, Peachland awarded Ruskin Construction Ltd. to complete hazardous dock removal and these works can be done expeditiously since they are already in the area.

With flood protection measures remaining in place longer than expected, as advised by EMBC, in mid- August, the Regional District initiated the final stages of their demobilization efforts in Peachland. This included assisting each municipality with the removal of ‘tiger dams’, sand bags and unnatural debris from the shoreline.

Major sites identified for restoration include sedimentation removal at two water intakes, shoreline beach recovery, retaining wall repair, dock / wharf rehab and walkway rehab. Creek assessments will also be completed. The first project was completed in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure pertaining to armouring the shoreline embankment at the Princeton Avenue intersection. With high water limiting observations well into August, Engineers have been scheduled for early September to initiate assessments and options for various sites throughout the shoreline. To view an estimated timeline of the restorative works planned this fall and into the early months of 2018, please click here: Recovery Timeline

The District of Peachland appreciates your patience during the flood recovery, if you have any questions, please contact the municipal office by phone: 250-767-2647 / or email: info@peachland.ca.

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