Damage assessment of last week’s disastrous flooding in the Tulameen, near Princeton, B.C., is still underway.
However, some residents are already concerned about what may happen next year, during spring runoff and possible flooding then.
Tanis Moss, who lives in nearby Coalmont, was removing the entire contents of a friend’s cabin that had flooded in Tulameen on Tuesday.
“The water came up quite high in here,” Moss said of flooding in the 6th Street cabin near Otter Lake.
Moss was helping out a friend from the coast — despite having to deal with her own flooding, downstream on the Tulameen River in Coalmont.
“It took down five trailers and a camper out of there,” Moss said.
When asked if she worried about a flooding repeat, Moss said she was already concerned about it.
“Yes, we typically have floods here in the spring … but it’s never been like this,” said Moss.
Meanwhile, the area director for the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen, Bob Coyne, was surveying the damage on washed-out Tulameen Road.
“Absolutely devastating,” Coyne told Global News about last week’s flooding. “We lost multiple homes up this road.”
Along the riverbank where the road is washed out for several metres, a number of structures were completely destroyed and washed downstream during the violent flooding, only to be left behind when the water receded.
Ten metres from the Tulameen River, all alone on a gravel flood plain is an old Chey truck, mangled and upside down.
Upstream from the community of Tulameen, the damage is far more intense.
“Recreational vehicles, cars,” said Coyne describing things that had been carried away from properties near the river during the flooding.
And while the damage is intense, so, too, is the worry about another epic flooding event.
“That’s our next disaster, just waiting for spring to happen,” Coyne said quite plainly while pointing to the Tulameen River.
Coyne is worried that unless wood debris and several log jams are removed from the riverbed before spring freshet, the results could be catastrophic.
“Do I get emotional about it? Yes, I do because I care,” Coyne said while choking back tears.
“We want to make sure people are safe.”
And so Coyne is pleading with the provincial government, hoping they will step in and remove debris from the riverbed before it has the chance to do more damage.
“Please look outside the box that you live in,” said Coyne, “and think about the folks that live here.”