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Kelowna News

Lakefront residents still tallying up costs of Okanagan Lake flooding

A dock at a West Kelowna mobile home park was completely destroyed during the wind storm during the height of the flooding.
Image Credit: Contributed

KELOWNA - Lakefront residents from around Okanagan Lake are still tallying up costs incurred from spring flooding that brought lake levels well above most docks and for some it’s tens of thousands of dollars.

According to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, roughly 360 properties just in that area of the lake lost their docks.

Kelowna resident Keith Yap is one of those property owners.

“I’m in the scenario that I would say at least 75 per cent of dock owners are in, I have to completely replace the dock,” Yap says. “I’m looking at around $20,000 to $25,000 and I would say my dock is a small to average size.”

Unfortunately for lakeside residents dock insurance only covers man made damages, and does not cover natural disasters.

According to Brittney Jones, operations manager for Shoreline Pile Driving, Docks & Boat Lifts, prices for dock repairs vary considerably from property to property.

“For repairs, it can be as small as $1,000 but for a complete dock replacement, you could see prices of $20,000, although that is quite high,” she says. “It all depends on the extent of the damage, specifically damage to the pilings.”

The company has been so busy they’ve had to hire, and are still looking to hire, new staff.

“Right now we’re working with residents to get debris off of their property and out of the lake - we have all nine of our barges on the water,” says Jones. “We’ve been held up for dock assessments due to the high water, but now we’re able to get going on dock construction.”

According to Jones, the company is not looking to profit from the debris cleanup, and rather just trying to break even.

“We’re just trying to help people out at the moment, we’re charging an hourly wage for labour but that’s about it,” she says. “Costs for cleanup vary so much, it depends on the property, how much debris there is, there’s a lot of factors.”

Jones says she recommends anyone with dock damage to apply for the necessary permits as soon as possible, as there is a much higher demand than usual due to this years’ unprecedented flooding.

For Yap, replacing his dock is not the only expense he’s faced due to the flooding. Just the process of protecting his property was not only timely, but costly.

“Yes the sandbags are free, but I work during the day, and by the time you get to the stations in the evening there’s no one there, so you have to fill and load the sandbags on your own, which is time consuming,” he says. “I ended up having to spend around $3,000 to hire people with a pick up truck to pick them up and drop them at my house, where I would then set them up.”

Additionally, lakefront residents with boats have had to pay for storage, where normally they would be able to store the boat on a lift attached to their dock.

“Since the flooding, there are no docks left on the water, so dry storage is the opportune place to store boats,” said Austin Friesen, the site and safety operations supervisor at Aqua Marine Valet Service. “We have zero room left, we are fully booked - it’s a huge increase.”

Although many boat owners put their boat in storage for the winter and therefore already have a storage rate, for those who don’t typically use a boat storage company, they could be looking at an additional $4,000 to $6,000 yearly cost.

Dockside Marine Centre in West Kelowna offered a package deal for residents needing their boats off the water due to the flooding. For $25 a foot, making an average 20-foot boat cost $500, the company will get the boat off of your lift, take it to the storage facility, and house it until August 31, 2017.

“It’s a service we’ve never offered before, and it’s been very well received by people hit by the flooding,” said Durell Wiley, the General Manager. “It’s been mainly new people too, not just our usual customers.”

But that’s just getting started. Beyond boats, storage and docks, many lakeside owners have been pumping ground water from basements for nearly three months.

According to an employee at Winn Rentals in Kelowna, their pump sales have increased this year. To purchase a new pump will set you back $830, while renting one, plus the hose required, cost $37 per day. Some homes and businesses are still pumping.

Other costs will vary significantly if retaining walls are damaged or landscaping must be replaced.

Did we miss anything? How much did spring flooding cost you?

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 © iNFOnews, 2017

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