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Demobilization of Lumby flood response taking months

Flooding along Shuswap Avenue in Lumby, in the summer of 2013.
Image Credit: Contributed/ Suzanne Smith
October 16, 2014 - 3:18 PM

VERNON - Cleaning up the aftermath of the Okanagan’s largest flood protection response doesn’t happen overnight, it takes months.

North Okanagan Emergency Management crews are still demobilizing gabion baskets—bags filled with gravel and used for dyking—from Lumby. The gabions were deployed at the beginning of May as part of Operation Duteau, a partnership with the province to protect Lumby from flood waters. Severe flooding hit the village in 2012 and 2013, damaging homes and shutting down businesses.

Emergency manager Brent Watson says over 40,000 sandbags as well as three kilometres of gabion dyking were deployed, the largest response of its kind in this part of the province. Over 60 personnel were involved in the operation, and Watson says the hard work paid off. The dyking protected Lumby's core infrastructure. 

“It was a very serious, imminent threat, we didn’t want Lumby to flood a third time,” Watson says. "This response was a huge undertaking."

Some of the gabion baskets were leftover from another disaster, with the words ‘Hurricane Katrina’ stamped on them.

Many months after deployment, there are still around 450 gabions to be picked up and returned to the province. On top of that, contractors will be hired to clean up private property.

“In the course of deploying these things, lawns and gardens get destroyed,” Watson says. “Part of the demobilization process is restoring property to pre-deployment conditions.”

That work is hoped to be finished by Christmas.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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