Millions to be spent to keep Kelowna residents safe from Mill Creek - InfoNews

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Millions to be spent to keep Kelowna residents safe from Mill Creek

Flooding on Mill Creek in Kelowna on Monday, May 8, 2017.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
March 15, 2019 - 2:55 PM

KELOWNA - It will take until at least 2020 to start new flood control work on Mill Creek in Kelowna and will cost more than $55 million.

Ralph Goodale, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced today, March 15, that his government will contribute $22 million to the work.

The City of Kelowna will kick in about $33 million, according to director of infrastructure Alan Newcombe and he’ll be looking for other funding sources as well.

“We have six to eight years to spend the money,” Newcombe said. “The benefit of this program, with the money flowing over a longer period of time, we can look for other opportunities to supplement that funding.”

The City just applied for the money from the $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund in January so this was a very quick turnaround, Newcombe said.

There is no money in the City’s 2019 budget for any work to start this year but a consultant may be hired to start designing the projects.

A key element will be to increase upland storage, likely outside the city limits, so more water can be stored during spring runoff.

Mill Creek flows out of Postill Lake but it’s too early to say where that storage increase will be built, Newcombe said.

Other work will be done to increase steam flows in order to protect Kelowna Airport and properties downstream.

Mill Creek flooded in 2017 and 2018, causing extensive damage. During those two years, there was more than $14 million in damage to city infrastructure from various streams flooding in Kelowna, Newcombe said.

Some of this work was already planned as part of the City’s 10-year plan but it’s too early to say whether the federal funding will cut much out of the infrastructure deficit of about $477 million, he said.

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