UPDATE: Kelowna's Mill Creek spills over its bank, flooding apartment building, houses - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Kelowna's Mill Creek spills over its bank, flooding apartment building, houses

Bottom floor residents of the Shaughnessy apartment building in Kelowna had to tote out their belongings after the building flooded, May 7, 2020.
May 07, 2020 - 1:01 PM

Mill Creek has spilled its banks in several areas in Kelowna overnight as floodwaters rose. 

The Shaughnessy apartment building on Sutherland Avenue started flooding just before 6 a.m. today, May 7. Residents confirmed two units have been flooded in the basement and one resident said the water is "knee-deep" in the parking garage. The back alley is also full of water. 

A restoration company is currently trying to pump out the basement while residents remove belongings in Tupperware bins.

Residents of the Shaughnessy trying to figure out what to do next after they've removed some belongings and the ground floor is pumped out.
Residents of the Shaughnessy trying to figure out what to do next after they've removed some belongings and the ground floor is pumped out.

The flood may have damaged about 30 homes in the area, Ryan Eisenhut, owner of First General Okanagan Property Restoration Specialists, told iNFOnews.ca. He thought it might have been caused by debris building up in the creek but that has not been confirmed.

Eisenhut also referred to it as Category 3 water, meaning there was a substantial amount of sewage.

As many as 30 homes may have also been flooded.
As many as 30 homes may have also been flooded.

Many of the residents in the houses had been flooded before so they were prepared with their own pumps, he said.

"The showers that we had yesterday in the valley bottom, I suspect, were quite a bit heavier in the upper watershed for Mill Creek. That resulted in high flows overnight coming down through Mill Creek, through the city, bringing with it small trees, branches, woody debris that’s left there over the winter or last fall," Alan Newcombe, the City of Kelowna's director of infrastructure, said.

"With all that getting washed down and getting jammed up on some bridge structures and the water backing up, pooling behind that and then spilling over onto the adjacent roadways and properties.”

It didn't take long for ducks to swim into the parkade below the Shaughnessy.
It didn't take long for ducks to swim into the parkade below the Shaughnessy.

That's most likely what happened but he will have to wait until the water recedes to confirm the sequence of events.

Mill Creek jumped the banks near Bulman Road, Brookside Avenue, Marshall Street and Pacific Court, as well as the area around the Sutherland Avenue creek crossing. City crews worked through the night clearing debris and Bulman Road remained closed this morning.

Newcombe was not aware of any other flooding problems in the city.

This man had to wade through the foul smelling and very cold water to get to his truck parked behind the Shaughnessy so he could drive to work. His unit was higher up in the building so he was not flooded.
This man had to wade through the foul smelling and very cold water to get to his truck parked behind the Shaughnessy so he could drive to work. His unit was higher up in the building so he was not flooded.

So far this year, with Okanagan Lake levels being drawn down and a slow snow melt, the risk of flooding has been low.

“Generally, with snowmelt, we would not see these kinds of flows,” Newcombe said. “Rainfall on top of snowmelt is always the worst case scenario for us, along Mill Creek anyway.”

Last year, the City was granted $55 million to do work around Mill Creek to lessen the risk of flooding, including building ponds upstream of Kelowna Airport to control the flow of water. That work will be done over the next six to eight years.

Even after its completed, there's no guarantee that this type of flooding will always be prevented, Newcombe said.

This man was wading in the creek trying to clear debris with a snow shovel, just below the Mill Creek bridge on Sutherland Avenue.
This man was wading in the creek trying to clear debris with a snow shovel, just below the Mill Creek bridge on Sutherland Avenue.

– This story was updated at 9:01 a.m., May 7, 2020 with more photos and information about additional flooding, and it was updated again at 1 p.m. to include information from the City of Kelowna.


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