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History of the 2017 Flood

History of the 2017 Flood

On May 21, 2017 a State of Emergency was declared by the District of Peachland as a result of a breach of Trepanier Creek in the Brenda Mines area. This State of Emergency continued, due to the ‘well above average’ freshet season, and 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 had 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 was paramount in these emergency operations for all agencies.

May 4, 2017 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.

June 8th was a critical day for Peachland. A southern storm challenged both our crews and protection measures and resulted in significant shoreline damage. Retaining walls were undermined, most docks were damaged or destroyed and a significant amount of land was lost putting Centennial Walkway and Beach Avenue at risk. Upon the advice of engineers, rip rap was installed on key sections of the waterfront where the shoreline had eroded to point that was putting critical transportation infrastructure at risk of failure.

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.

Okanagan Lake did not reach full pool (normal high water) until August. In fact, the lake did not return to seasonal norms until September 2017. This meant that much of the damage was not fully observed until the fall. A part-time Recovery Director was hired in June 2017 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.

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. Five hazardous dock were removed.

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 and walkway rehabilitation.

To view an estimated timeline of the restorative works planned this fall and into 2018 and 2019, 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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