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Green Bay residents in West Kelowna working overtime to hold back flood water

John McCullough is helping his mother-in-law pump ground water out of her front yard in Green Bay in West Kelowna, Friday, June 2, 2017.
June 02, 2017 - 3:04 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Residents of Green Bay in West Kelowna are working together to keep flood water away from their homes.

With the help of firefighters from B.C. Wildfire Services and City crews, sandbag walls have been constructed and pumps put in place to help prevent damage from the flooding.

“Without the fire and forestry people helping us we’d be hooped,” Green Bay resident Danis Kruse says. “This is the best area, everyone is helping everyone, whatever can be done is being done.”

However, Kruse says he wishes the provincial government would be more realistic in their approach to the flooding.

“People who didn’t have a home that grandfathered a retaining wall aren’t allowed to have one, they need to allow people to properly protect their properties.”

The rising water in Okanagan Lake continues to threaten the  sandbag wall surrounding Green Bay in West Kelowna, Friday, June 2, 2017.
The rising water in Okanagan Lake continues to threaten the sandbag wall surrounding Green Bay in West Kelowna, Friday, June 2, 2017.

Ken Kiewitz and John McCullough are helping Ken's mother, and John's mother-in-law, June Kiewitz protect her lakefront home.

“We’re family, this is what it’s all about, looking out for each other,” McCullough says.

June's front lawn is covered in about a foot of water and lake water has risen over her retaining wall in her backyard, and is seeping through an sandbag wall, that is eight sandbags high.

“My mom has been here since the early 80s and has never seen it this bad, her neighbour who remembers the 1948 flooding says this is much worse,” Ken says.

A temporary dam was constructed with sheet metal Thursday night, June 1, across the canal running through Green Bay to Okanagan Lake. The dam is meant to reduce water levels in the canal, by sending the water back out into the lake.

A provincially-funded $24,000 temporary dam has been installed in the Green Bay canal in West Kelowna in order to pump water out and reduce water levels threatening surrounding homes.
A provincially-funded $24,000 temporary dam has been installed in the Green Bay canal in West Kelowna in order to pump water out and reduce water levels threatening surrounding homes.

“The amount of water going back into the lake from the canal is insignificant compared to what the creeks are doing,” City park supervisor Stacey Harding says.

The main concerns surrounding the canal are the proximity of the water to mobile homes lining the waterway and how close the water is to the power sources. Currently, homes lining the canal are on evacuation notice.

The provincially-funded $24,000 dam has so far lowered canal levels by 10 to 12 inches, Harding says.

“It’s been a modest drop, we’d like to see a bit more being pumped out.”

Residents and City officials say there has been a problem with people driving around the area just to take a look at the flooding.

“There’s lots of curious people just wanting to look around, but they need to understand that there’s a lot of people working and there’s lots of equipment, so further traffic just slows the process down,” Harding says.

It's been a long haul for the people of Green Bay. It was back on May 11 when the flooding threat turned into an emergency.

Water levels in the Green Bay canal in West Kelowna threaten nearby homes, Friday, June 2, 2017.
Water levels in the Green Bay canal in West Kelowna threaten nearby homes, Friday, June 2, 2017.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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