Neighbours rally in wake of Central Okanagan flooding

Lake Country resident Dane Jorsvik cycles through the flooding to his home on Commonwealth Road.


KELOWNA - It's been go, go, go for people in the Central Okanagan since the water rose and flooded their homes and businesses last weekend. They've been working around the clock and now there is a threat the water may rise again in the next few days.

For some residents, the constant work to keep water at bay has left them too exhausted to speak. Others, like Lake Country resident Jeff Higgins, are eager to speak about what they say is a lack of help from local government.

“We’ve had zero help and zero guidance as to what to do,” he says. “Without proper instruction we’re just here spinning our wheels making it up as we go, we’ve done our best to hold the water off but it’s not very effective.”

Marshall Street resident Bill Feist's backyard on Mill Creek.
Marshall Street resident Bill Feist's backyard on Mill Creek.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Bill Feist

On Monday, Higgins was knee-deep in water on Commonwealth Road, where he lives. Residents in the area have either been placed on voluntary evacuation or are currently under an evacuation warning.

Dane Jorsvik was woken up with a knock on his window at midnight with emergency crews telling him to leave.

“They said you can leave now, or you’re on your own, so I guess I’m on my own,” Jorsvik says. “I never thought it would come to this.”

Kyler Lazeroff had the luxury of pack up his RV with what he needs and driving away.

“I was helping out in Grand Forks when I got a call saying my place was going under water, so I came back,” Lazeroff said. “I’m lucky that I can pack up and leave, others don’t have that option.”

He too is concerned with the lack of government support.

“The people who live just next door aren’t home and to my knowledge haven’t been notified at all.”

Although there is frustration with the lack of government help, community members have been coming together to help those affected by the flooding.

“People from all over the city have been coming to help,” Bill Feist says. “A lady had a BBQ going over the weekend with hot dogs, and guys were going door to door with sandbags seeing who needed help, none of them live on this street.”

Feist's backyard on Marshall Street in Kelowna after the flooding on Monday, May 8.
Feist's backyard on Marshall Street in Kelowna after the flooding on Monday, May 8.

Feist lives on Marshall Street in Kelowna. His home backs onto Mill Creek and over the course of last weekend his backyard deck looked more like a dock.

“The water started to come over late Friday afternoon, and by Saturday morning... there was water flowing down the street about four inches high.”

Feist moved into his home in December and is currently renovating. He says he’s lucky construction was slightly delayed or he would have already done his landscaping which would’ve been completely ruined.

“Unfortunately there’s nothing we can really do, except hope for the best,” Feist says. “There’s supposed to be more rain this weekend so I’m just wondering if it’s going to get worse.”

Along with the continued snowpack melt, anywhere from 25 to 40 mm of rain are expected from tomorrow, May 11 to Sunday, May 14, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

Water in the Turtle Bay area of Lake Country is knee deep.
Water in the Turtle Bay area of Lake Country is knee deep.

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