Gellatly erosion will turn fish-bearing Smith Creek into a culvert

Smith Creek, which runs along the collapsing Gellatly Road in West Kelowna, will have to be routed through a culvert.

WEST KELOWNA – A state of emergency has been declared for the slope failure along Gellatly Road, and the District of West Kelowna says their best course of action is to cover and reroute the fish-bearing Smith Creek through a culvert.

The 160 metres of Gellatly Road between Witt and Angus Road was closed to all traffic and pedestrians May 2 after residents noticed erosion threatening utility poles.

In order to secure $440,250 in emergency funding from the Province, a Local State of Emergency was declared Monday.

District of West Kelowna spokesperson Kirsten Jones says a geotechnical report showed a high probability the slope will erode further and the District has received confirmation funding will come from Emergency Management B.C. and the District which will contribute $1.3 million to the project.

“The Mayor (Doug Findlater) called the State of Emergency and last night Council supported it,” Jones says. “Council was advised by our engineering department that we will go with a culvert, which Smith Creek would flow through instead of shoring up the bank. From what I understand it is a little less complicated but the area itself is extremely complicated anyway because it’s so steep.”

Jones says the engineering department expects the work to take approximately five weeks to complete.

“Neighbours in the area aren’t necessarily impacted but where we have to work is on privately-owned land,” she says.

Smith Creek is considered fish-bearing by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans but Jones says the environmental impact is minor.

“It’s not a significant number of fish and the creek already flows through another culvert before it hits the lake,” she says. “We’re just adding another little piece.”

The sand bank holding up Gellatly Road eroded to the point the road had to be closed to all traffic May 2.
The sand bank holding up Gellatly Road eroded to the point the road had to be closed to all traffic May 2.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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