Disposing of sandbags now that Okanagan flood threat is subsiding

Sandbags in West Kelowna's Green Bay neighbourhood.

An estimated 1.7 million sandbags have been set out in the central Okanagan since flood conditions first hit in early May.

That equals about 1500 truck loads of sand.

Now that the level of Okanagan Lake is expected to continue to decline, the challenge shifts to disposing of all those sandbags once the flood threat is over.

Local governments will coordinate and conduct their removal on private and public properties at no cost to residents.

“This coordinated approach for the collection and disposal of sandbags will ensure the safest and most efficient way, minimizing ecological impact to property, creeks, streams, area lakes, wildlife habitat and ensuring the health of citizens,” states a news release from the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre.

The first removals will happen along creeks inland from the lake.

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Sandbags that have not been in contact with water for at least two weeks can be safely removed.

Those areas include:

· Mill Creek – upstream of Pandosy Street
· Brandts Creek – upstream of Richter Street
· Fascieux Creek – upstream of Gordon Drive
· Scotty Creek – all
· Middle Vernon Creek – upstream of Woodsdale Road

The EOC says emptying sandbags onto beaches or into watercourses is illegal under the Water Sustainability Act.

Doing so can hurt fish habitat and affect drinking water and recreational activities.

Kelowna residents can drop off sandbags at the Cook Road boat launch next to the Hotel Eldorado and the Apple Bowl parking Lot.

The drop off in the District of Lake Country is the Beasley Park parking lot on Woodsdale Road.

Flood protection measures along the foreshore of the big lake are expected to remain for an extended period of time.

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