Whitevale residents call for dredging as Lumby, B.C. floodwaters surge again

Click to play video: 'Flood water surges again in Lumby area' Flood water surges again in Lumby area
WATCH: The Lumby area is dealing with another surge of highwater after rain once again swelled local creeks. As Megan Turcato reports, one neighbourhood is calling for long term changes to protect the area in the future. – Jun 20, 2022

The Lumby, B.C. area is dealing with another highwater surge after rain again swelled local creeks.

One trouble spot is the Whitevale area south of town.

For the second time this spring, water was flowing across Whitevale Road. on Monday.

The rural-residential street was closed in one spot due to the floodwater.

Read more: Village of Lumby, B.C. activates emergency operations centre due to rain, rising water levels

“For me, it is not all that bad other than it washed away a bit of my driveway,” said resident Dave Ogasawara, who has to drive through floodwater to get to his house.

But across the street from Ogasawara, a steady stream of water was flowing off the road, down his neighbour’s driveway, and through the yard.

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Ogasawara said that neighbour actually decided, prior to this flood season, to move out and tear down the house due to many years of flooding and the fact that the high water seems to be occurring more often.

One student who lives on the road ended up boating part way to school down a flooded laneway.

Student Haiden Smithson and his mother Haili Valin boat part of the way to school after a nearby creek burst its banks and flooded the Whitevale Rd. area near Lumby. Photo Courtesy: Sherry Heath. Courtesy: Sherry Heath

Another neighbour, Keith Altwasser, is concerned about the impact of the water on his farm, hay crop, and a family wedding he is supposed to be hosting this weekend.

“We can’t use the corrals. It is haying season right after the wedding. Our field is soaked. We can’t get in there,” said Altwasser.

The flooding problem in the Whitevale area is caused by a nearby creek that keeps bursting its banks this spring.

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Read more: Search underway for missing Calgary man in Okanagan Lake

While there is local disagreement about whether the creek should be called Harris Creek or Bessette Creek, Altwasser and Ogasawara agree on the solution to prevent it from flooding their properties: allow dredging of the creek and build up the banks.

“Back in the day it always was cleaned out and there was no problem,” said Altwasser.

“We need to dredge the stream. If the fisheries and environment get on board you wouldn’t be doing this interview.”

Several creeks wind their way through Lumby so Whitevale Road is just one flooding trouble spot.

The village’s mayor would also like to see more mitigation work done to prevent future damage.

“There could be some real double wins or positives,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“We could rebuild the fish habitat and sort of provide some [flood] protection at the same time. The province and the federal government have the capability of doing it. We just need to convince them that this is the place to do it.”

Read more: Heavy rain and snowmelt lead to Okanagan Lake rising well above full pool

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Acton said a local transportation contractor did some work to remove some material from Creighton Creek to help protect infrastructure.

For now, although water seems to be receding again, Acton is telling residents to remain prepared.

“Don’t start dismantling things yet. We are certainly not out of the woods by any means. There are still opportunities for flooding with a couple of days of rain coming and I’m hoping after that, that will be it,” Acton said.

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