Archives for August 24, 2017
From: Gordon & Kathie Kirby
250 Road 9
To: Karla Kozakevich
Chair , Regional District of Okanagan Smimilkameen
Re: Spring flooding of 2017
We have lived at this address for 50 years since 1967, no flooding can compare to this year.
The notes here are our thoughts on flooding and silting of creeks below Rail Road Right of Way at road 9 starting about May 10, 2017. We refer to the causes and situations leading to our area flooding from these water sources:
1-Okanagan River brought to highest level in many years raising the initial ground water table level and hindering the ability of the large culvert north of bridge on road 9 to evacuate our area flood waters.
2-Reed Creek: This creek and other creeks mentioned are now all totally affected by the fire of 2015. Loss of tree top canopy, shrubs, grasses etc. prevent a slow melt of snow, which now turn creeks into runways of rampant water. On most years in the past this creek would go underground on its flow downward.
3- Togo Creek: also burned off, this creek was never an issue. It now contributes a large amount of water and runs across Fairview Golf Course, where it enters Reed Creek.
4- Tin Horn Creek: also burned off, this creek had a major flood on June 2, 1983 due to a build up of logs and debris over many years which also filled up the irrigation channel. It did this again this spring 2017, up until now this creek has not been a problem. The end result for us is a creek now going down road 9 and pouring into Reed creek.
With the fire all of this could be a yearly event, with horrible results of flooding and a raised water table. It must be noted that all 3 creeks try to find their way to the river meanwhile flooding and creating a large lake in the road 6,9 &10 area, all of which are productive farm lands as well as home sites. These creeks tried to flow to the river which was already swollen. There are two ways this happened.
1- Flow north along a creek and run into Kirby drain ( a major creek down road 6).
2 – The other route is same creek, only it flows south and through culverts that run under private driveways to 3 properties/houses Kirby, Quaedvlieg, Enixon and through an ill conceived culvert of over 100 feet that was implanted in the creek to enable the previous owner of the lot to build a house – it is totally plugged, water runs over it to the river. On June 9, 2017 RDOS showed up at this driveway with 2 pumps (650 gal minute each) pumping for hours each day until June 15th, moving a lot of water to below Road 9 bridge, by the last day pumping our water table had dropped at least 12 inches at the house and continued to drop on all affected properties as well!
Hopefully we get answers to this flooding situation before next year. Such as:
1- starting pumping much sooner.
2- rerouting this creek to below road 9 bridge as suggested in the past, thus preventing any back up and the free flow of water into river.
3- Possible diverting of Reed Creek down road 6 to Sawmill Road Junction to flow into Kirby Drain, thus in turn reducing the flow considerably in the creek at road 9.
In summary, clearly this will not be a 100 year event – not any more folks, Fire has changed everything!
Anna Warwick Sears – Executive Director – Okanagan Basin Water Board – Kelowna
Mark Woods – Community Services Manager – RDOS – Penticton
Shaun Reimer – Section Head – FLNRO (Forest, Land, Natural Resource Operations) – Public Safety and Protection – Penticton
About 70 residents of the South Okanagan gathered Wednesday at Oliver’s Community Hall to talk about fire, floods and water problems affecting them in 2017. The “Town Hall” meeting organized by RDOS Area C Director Terry Schafer and staff at the Regional District office.
Basically the discussion centered on two themes:
Too much water off the Okanagan watershed mountains this spring, a rising Okanagan Lake, and the resulting flooding of much land south of Penticton
The aftermath of the Oliver (Kobau) fire of 2015 and creeks swelling presenting problems for land owners in the Road Six to Rd 11 area.
Both of the above coupled with complaints about a lack of communication and long range planning.
Bill Koenig – lives and works at the bottom of the Rd 6 area and talked to the issue of Reed Creek (heavy flow) filling the basin with water and the ineffective drainage system. Koenig says the area needs a Drainage Management System.
These thoughts echoed by Gordon Kirby of the Rd 9 area who wrote to the RDOS and the government without much communication thereafter. Kirby suggested that outflows from Reed Creek and Tinhorn Creeks need to be channeled and exit on the south side of the Road Nine Bridge.
Upstream – Winery Owner Bill Eggert stated that the communication about a rising creek was absent this spring. “When there is a problem that might affect me – I expect someone to phone me or knock on my door”.
To the west and north of Eggert, homeowner Bruce Hamilton said there was a lot of water coming off the hills that threatened his property. “More must be done to clean out the creeks of debris and sediment”.
Gary Cook told the meeting it has never been as bad (high water) in the Park Rill area on Island Way – north of Oliver. Cook suggested the river channel needs to be dredged to remove sediment and allow a freer flow of water. He asked if the ORRI river salmon enhancement project was part of the high water problem.
Owners of Vaseux Lake properties were concerned about the high levels of the lake for the last few years and the erosion of the land in front of their homes.
One resident of Osoyoos talked to the issue of how high the water was in the lake and another resident of Rd 22 expressed concerns that the height of that lake has on his low lying grazing land.
Anna Warwick Sears talked to the fact that a Osoyoos Lake water control meeting will be held shortly and invited all those concerned to attend. The height of the lake is largely controlled by the Zosel Dam in Oroville and depends on the flow of the Similkameen River which is not controlled by dams.
Shaun Reimer made a lengthy presentation on water flow models that led to a problem with draining Okanagan Lake. Reimer said that 2017 was an unusual year not following any models in a 100 year period. ” I have been in the area since 1995 and never have I seen this level of outflow.” “More water in one week than some years in the 20’s.
Reimer says events like this because of climate change are ” Not if BUT when” and modelling helps those that have their hands on the dam gates.
Sears backed that up with predictions of more dry drought year, more wet years, and less regular (normative) years – extremes becoming the norm so that all efforts now going into preparation for both of these situations. The valley governments involved in Flood Mapping and looking for grant opportunities to fund more studies.
Reimer told the meeting that FLNRO does not have the funds for a lot of drainage studies and urged the Regional District to look into the problems in the Testalinda, Hester, Tinhorn, Reed Creek area.
Friends and family gathered under the trees at the home of Ernie and Cheryl Dumais to celebrate the life of Susan McCullough on August 13, 2017. The beauty of the valley spread out before us as memories were shared of early days together living in Oliver.
Susan was born May 31, 1946 in Calgary, grew up in Victoria and died September 14, 2016. She moved to Oliver in 1968 as part of a group of young couples drawn to the area because the local School Board offered increments on the pay scale for well qualified new teachers. Most planned to stay a year. Many stayed a lifetime, remaining friends and raising their children here.
Some of those children, now grown, came to support Susan’s son, Jarod (Sean) McCullough and to recall the escapades and freedom of kids growing up part of a community where parents were friends, kids ran free from house to house, and adventures in Tuc-el-nuit Lake and on Mt. Baldy created a strong sense of belonging. Peter Busink and Sebastian Nicholas both spoke about the warmth of small town life where everyone knew everyone. Teachers, doctors, orchardists, dentists were also family friends and shared in everyday life.
The Celebration of Susan’s life was spearheaded by her stalwart friend, Judy Nicholas who passed away very recently but knew her friends, Cheryl Dumais and Larraine McCarthy were carrying out her plan to honour Susan.
Susan was known for her kindness, her poise, her abiding interest and involvement in medical and social justice advocacy and her love of animals. She was a woman of many talents. Initially a dental assistant she later trained as a Health Records Administrator. She taught figure skating, took part in equestrian events, became certified as a Mental Health Worker, worked tirelessly for Victim’s Assistance and Brain Injury support groups. She played piano and was a past President of the South Okanagan Concert Society.
Life dealt Susan some very hard blows but her resilience was remarkable and her efforts on behalf of others never ceased. It was fitting that her old friends could gather, G&T in hand, to share intergenerational stories triggered by the many pictures from Susan’s life set up on tables and hung on lines between the trees in a part of the world where her spirit is not forgotten.