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Lumby mayor demands flood protection

June flooding in Lumby resulted in road and business closures.
Image Credit: Contributed/ Suzanne Smith
August 22, 2013 - 2:22 PM

VERNON - A strongly worded letter from the Mayor of Lumby has garnered the attention of regional district politicians on the topic of flooding. 

The letter comes on the heels of a major flood in June and the threat of legal action from frustrated residents in May.

Mayor Kevin Acton presented the letter to the Regional District of North Okanagan board of directors Wednesday, in it reminding them that Lumby has come to them numerous times already and feels their concerns are "being treated with a cavalier attitude by the Board and its staff."

In the letter, Acton said flooding has become a much more frequent problem since the Duteau Water Plant went in several years ago.

"We see it that Greater Vernon put a Water Plant on Duteau without adequate controls to mitigate the downstream effect of their project," Acton said.

He'd like to see the water in the reservoir pre-released to avoid large gushes.

"We remind you that our residents have as much right to safely enjoy their homes and businesses as Greater Vernon residents have to ensure water to fill their pools or water their lawns," Acton said. "I would think that the protection of persons, homes and businesses would rate a higher priority."

RDNO's engineering general manager says any solution would be complicated and expensive.

"One option would be to provide diking of the land to prevent flooding on properties," Dale McTaggart says. "Another is a project to raise the dam an extra meter for flood protection."

The regional district already has plans to increase the height of the dam by four meters to provide long-term storage as part of its draft Master Water Plan, but raising it for flood protection is a different story.

"Any work in the Master Water Plan has to benefit Greater Vernon Water customers," McTaggart says. "Lumby isn't on Greater Vernon Water."

Financing diking is another touchy subject.

"Do we we want to have all the residents in the regional district paying for flood protection in Lumby?" MctTaggart says.

McTaggart says there's no evidence that the water plant is making flooding worse, but admits there was a situation this year where they had to stop extracting water from the reservoir.

"With the heavy rainfall this spring, we had to shut the treatment plant down a few days due to turbidity," he says. "We weren't removing water like we normally would be. This didn't necessarily contribute to the flooding, but it didn't decrease it."

In light of Acton's letter and at the direction of the board, staff will be preparing a series of recommendations to address the flooding. McTaggart says that will definitely include a hydrological study of the creek to determine how much water they need to deal with.

"We are being anything but cavalier," RDNO chair Patrick Nicol says. "Water is our number one priority."

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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