CENTRAL OKANAGAN – The Regional District is advising some Central Okanagan residents that it’s finally safe to begin dismantling flood protection measures.
Protective measures along the foreshore in all Central Okanagan municipalities will likely remain necessary for weeks yet to come, however some inland properties are now free to take down their sandbags, according to a media release from the Emergency Operations Centre.
Crews are already demobilizing protective measures on inland public infrastructure and are expected to begin removing sandbags from private properties next week. There will be no cost to residents.
Officials say with the exception of the foreshore, sandbags along properties that have not been in contact with water for at least two weeks are considered safe to be removed.
These areas include Mill Creek upstream of Pandosy Street, Brandts Creek upstream of Richter Street, Fascieux Creek upstream of Gordon Drive, Scotty Creek and Middle Vernon Creek – upstream of Woodsdale Road.
There are approximately 1.7 million sandbags equalling 1,500 truckloads of sand throughout the Central Okanagan.
Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied on beaches or into any creeks, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act, the Operations Centre says. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities.
This coordinated approach for the collection and disposal of sandbags will ensure the safest and most efficient way, minimizing ecological impact to property, creeks, streams, area lakes, wildlife habitat and ensuring the health of citizens, the release states.
Residents who want to remove their own sandbags can drop them off at the Cook Road Boat Launch outside the Hotel Eldorado, the Apple Bowl Parking Lot and the Beasley Park Parking Lot in Lake Country.
In most cases, the sand used for flood protection can now be safely used as general fill, substitute aggregate in construction applications or blending into gardens. However sand that may have come into contact with bacteria or chemicals should be discarded properly, officials say.
For more information visit the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website.
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