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‘Well your house isn’t quite flooded yet:' Cherry Creek family on their own against floodwaters

Corine LeBourdais looks on as high waters threaten her home and animals on Lazy Acres Road in Cherry Creek on May 5, 2017.
May 05, 2017 - 7:37 PM

KAMLOOPS – Corine LeBourdais cried into her husband Mark’s shoulder as they watched what used to be a shallow creek - now eight feet deep - thrash across their property, threatening their animals and their home.

LeBourdais has lived in her home at 5096 Lazy Acres Rd. in Cherry Creek for 20 years and has never seen anything like the high waters brought on by the recent rainfall and snowmelt. The high waters of Cherry Creek ripped down several bridges and continues to erode banks on the property.

According to LeBourdais, she and her husband have been trying in vain to get any sort of help from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and get the same answer each time.

“It is what it is, but we aren’t getting help from anyone. I talked to the TNRD guy twice and he offered to drop off a pile of sand, but what good would that do?”

She says a building inspector with the regional district stopped by and told them to call the hotline with their concerns.

“’We’ve called the helpline six times. They say, ‘well your house isn’t quite flooded yet, so we have other things that are more pressing.’ Well, it’s been two days and nothing yet,”’ LeBourdais says.

Debbie Sell with the TNRD says this isn’t a lack of response, but merely policy and there's an order that evacuations and assessments must take.

According to Sell, the regional district is tending to nine different water events as of May 5. There’s been no official word yet on evacuation order or alerts for LeBourdais' area, but there are a number of properties that specialists have been sent out to assess.

“As soon as the specialist on site knows, we will immediately issue notices, and proceed from there,” Sell says.

Sell says she understands the frustration that residents living on smaller creeks are feeling now.

“I certainly appreciate that they are probably very stressed out right now, absolutely. There are a number of people facing this,” she says.

As far as delivering resources or sandbags, Sell says it just isn’t feasible.

“There’s 450,000 square kilometres that we are responsible for, so delivery is not easy. But we do have supplies available. If a resident is in need, once we hear about it, we direct them to where they can find them,” Sell says.

LeBourdais is a school teacher at South Kamloops Secondary and operates a tack shop called 2 Boots Tack on the property. Her store is completely surrounded by water.

There are several dogs, chickens, six horses, 25 goats and cats living on the land.

She says the animals are safe for the time being, but should things get worse, they will have to move to higher ground.

Neighbours Brigitte Dorey and Sean Mitchell moved in next door six weeks ago and came to check on the pair. They aren’t much better off next door.

Neighbours came in to check on Corine LeBourdais and her husband Mark.
Neighbours came in to check on Corine LeBourdais and her husband Mark.

“Our driveway is a bridge that goes across the creek and it’s almost completely washed out. There’s also debris from the three bridges that have all been taken out by the river,” Mitchell says.

His main concern is the logs and branches plugging up the culverts.

“We are a little bit stressed but we obviously have enough time to come over and try and lend a hand,” Mitchell says.

“Our house is okay right now, but the land is flooded and slowly eroding away from the water. We have two horses on the property. Their pasture is getting smaller and smaller,” Dorey says. 

LeBourdais is frustrated with what she says is a lack of response from the regional district and wants help and answers.

“We’ve done the best we can with what we have,” she says.

Then she wiped tears from her eyes, took a breath, looked back at her property and got back to work. 

Water has completely surrounded Corine LeBourdais' tack shop on her Cherry Creek property.
Water has completely surrounded Corine LeBourdais' tack shop on her Cherry Creek property.

Corine LeBourdais says their calls for help to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District have not been answered.
Corine LeBourdais says their calls for help to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District have not been answered.

Further upstream at Greenstone Road, Cherry Creek knocked out cement barriers.
Further upstream at Greenstone Road, Cherry Creek knocked out cement barriers.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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