Spring flooding forcing repairs to Penticton creeks before next spring | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton News

Spring flooding forcing repairs to Penticton creeks before next spring

The Penticton Creek Restoration Committee heard both the city's creekbeds suffered damage during this year's spring freshets, resulting in repairs that will be necessary to prevent further damage in next year's freshet. City Council will also be asked to expand the committee's mandate to include Ellis Creek in 2018. Above is the showpiece section of Penticton Creek prior to work being done to restore the creek bed in 2015.

PENTICTON - Last spring’s high water flows caused significant damage to the beds of Penticton and Ellis Creeks and will need to be repaired in time for next year’s freshet.

The damage to Ellis Creek has also prompted a motion to council to support expanding the scope of the Penticton Creek Restoration Committee in 2018 to include aspects of planning, restoration and flood protection issues in Ellis Creek.

The Penticton Creek Restoration Committee heard about the damage at its last meeting on Nov. 24. An inspection report delivered by Mould Engineering noted structural damage to Penticton Creek while Ellis Creek suffered erosion in its upper reaches, which impacted the creek further downstream when material carried down deposited in the creek’s lower reaches.

City Engineer Ian Chapman says budget numbers have yet to be calculated for some immediate work on Ellis Creek, which he says needs to be done before the 2018 spring freshet in order to prevent further damage.

He says more research needs to be done before a budget can be finalized.

“We learned fairly late on in the year we had issues with Ellis Creek,” Chapman says, noting the damage to the creek bed wasn’t as readily apparent as damage to the Okanagan Lake shoreline.

“The concern for us now is what do we do to get rid of some of the problems that might get rapidly worse in next year’s freshet. We can’t wait until the next fish window, which generally happens in July or August,” he says, adding the city needs to get into the creek now to do the work, but they don’t even have the designs for it yet.

“We’re not quite there in terms of full details yet. It’s a narrow window to work in. Depending on the position taken by the Ministry, we could have a very narrow window if we have a late winter and sudden thaw, and we’ve got the fish to think about. If they’ve spawned, we’ll have to wait until they’ve hatched, our window being between them swimming away and the raging spring torrents of water coming down,” he says, adding it’s a matter of some concern at this point.

Some budget money has been set aside for work on the creeks needing immediate attention, but without a crystal clear picture at this point, numbers aren’t firm, Chapman says.

He says he hopes to have a permit shortly after Christmas break, followed by further presentations to the Penticton Creek committee and possibly council to confirm the city’s direction.

City Council is expected to approve the Penticton Creek master plan at tomorrow's council meeting, Dec. 19, after the committee received positive feedback during the public consultation phase.

Council will also be asked to expand the committee’s mandate to include Ellis Creek in 2018.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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