Flood damage bill for Kelowna closes in on $9 million - InfoNews

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Flood damage bill for Kelowna closes in on $9 million

FILE PHOTO - A series of aqua dam's near Bellevue Creek in Kelowna, May 12, 2017. The great spring flood of 2017 caused about $9 million damage to city-owned infrastructure like parks and roads.
October 24, 2017 - 2:30 PM

KELOWNA - The great spring flood of 2017 caused about $9 million damage to city-owned infrastructure like parks and roads.

The good news is the total bill the city will actually pay comes in at just under $3 million thanks to disaster relief assistance from the B.C. government, says risk manager Lance Kayfish.

The disaster recovery tab covers repairs to such things as the dock at Manhattan Point and the boardwalk at Maude Roxby wetlands, Kayfish says, but also drainage infrastructure and roadways.

“There was no major damage to critical infrastructure,” Kayfish says, adding that the flood peaked before that could happen.

“If the water had risen any more, we could have had some concerns with the (Poplar Point) water intake near Paul’s Tomb," he says.

Water levels peaked in early June reaching 343.25 metres above sea level but not before damaging both public and private property all around Okanagan Lake.

City parks all along the lakefront were affected but the biggest single item was a concrete channel flume on Vernon Creek in the industrial area in north Kelowna, which Kayfish said will cost almost $6 million to replace.

Kayfish said the flume was older but in good working order before huge volumes of water began pouring down the creek in April and May.

“With the velocity and volume of water, I guess it picked up on some imperfections and it crumbled,” he says.

Disaster relief assistance via Emergency Management B.C. covers 80 per cent of most disaster-related costs, Kayfish says, although the cost of the disaster response is separate.

Kayfish is bringing a final number to Kelowna council in early November and says staff is developing a way to pay the city’s share of the tab without adding to property taxes.

Looking ahead, Kayfish says the lessons learned and the data collected from the flood, which is considered a one-in-200 year event, will likely lead to changes in the city’s capital plan.

FILE PHOTO - Square baskets filled with sand are set up at the Lake Avenue Beach access in Kelowna, May 16, 2017.
FILE PHOTO - Square baskets filled with sand are set up at the Lake Avenue Beach access in Kelowna, May 16, 2017.

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