NORTH OKANAGAN - As wildfires rage across the province, some people in the North Okanagan still can’t return to their waterfront properties because of flooding.
While a number of evacuation orders were finally rescinded by the Okanagan Indian Band over the weekend, others remain in effect.
Band chief Byron Louis says the remaining orders won’t be lifted until the properties are deemed safe.
“It’s to do with the water, how high is the water, how much is it coming down?” Louis says.
Those with the go-ahead to return to their properties will likely have some restoration work to do, he says.
“The damage varies. Some of the most severe is where you have sediment and gravel up to five feet up the side of the wall on their cabins. Other people have water damage,” Louis says.
The Emergency Operations Centre has placed notices on buildings in and around the risk area indicating that a basic safety assessment has been done. Structures have been classified as either red, (you must not enter until necessary work is performed); yellow, (buildings are suitable for restricted access until issues are resolved); or green, (building has no apparent structural or safety hazards).
“We’re doing what we can to help them and provide some level of support,” Louis says.
At the height of the flood, more than 200 properties on the reserve were on evacuation order.
Chief Louis says a majority of those were seasonal residents, however some full-time residents were displaced.
“Some of these people, they’re retirees that wanted a nice, quiet spot… close to the lake. They’ve been heavily impacted,” Louis says.
Chief Louis referred us to the Emergency Operations Centre directly for more specific information related to the evacuation orders and flood response, however staff at the centre refused.
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