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Flood-affected residents threaten lawsuit against Lumby

Flooding is an annual issue across the North Okanagan, including Armstrong where this photo was taken. Some residents in Lumby believe more can be done by local authorities to alleviate the problem, and are pouring on the heat with threats of legal action.
May 16, 2013 - 11:35 AM

Some residents have threatened a class action lawsuit against the Village of Lumby, saying more needs to be done to alleviate annual flooding.

Chief administrative officer for the village Tom Kadla says calls came streaming in this week after Duteau Creek—which runs through the town—rose over two feet.

"Flooding is an annual issue. We live on a floodplain," Kadla says. "But the sudden rise got people worried."

Worried enough to threaten the village with a class action lawsuit for flood damage.

Over the weekend, Kadla says flooding affected residents outside and inside the village limits, drenching farmland and creeping up on peoples' homes. The popular Salmon Trail walking path was also inundated.

The municipal hall has received many questions from the public about rising water levels, but Kadla says only a few residents are threatening legal action.

"They want clarification on whether or not the release can be controlled," Kadla says. "We're looking at what can be done and communicating with them and the Regional District of North Okanagan."

Kadla says matters relating to the creek's water flow lies within the district's jurisdiction.

"We're responsible for the dikes in our area, and we don't think we're in any legal breach," Kadla says, adding the village will be surveying the infrastructure as part of their investigation into the issue.

He says the village did their due-diligence by having sandbags at the ready for the public.

Mayor Kevin Acton says the district has greater power than the village to address the problem.

"There's a dam to hold the water back when we get record amounts of snow melt," Acton says. "It's used to reserve the water supply, but I'd like to see RDNO use the capability to prevent flooding. They have a legal responsibility to protect the village."

He says adding height to the dam would allow more water to be held back. While expensive, he says it would be well worth it.

"We can definitely mitigate these problems," Acton says.

Moving forward, Acton says the village is doing its homework alongside the district, and finding out what can be done to alleviate flooding, and the public's concerns, without having to take legal action.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call (250)309-5230.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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