Emergency Operations Centre – update on Park Rill Catchment Flood Response Assessment
Flooding events on the Park Rill Watershed are not new, and for both 2017 and especially 2018, the events seem more egregious, affecting more people and damaging more property.
The RDOS Response:
By law, a regional district can only raise and spend money if we define a geographic area and ask those citizens if they want to pay for a service. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) does not have a Drainage Service. Under the Emergency Program Act, the RDOS can respond to an emergency or disaster, and the province through Emergency Management BC (EMBC,) enables us to respond by authorizing and paying specific response and recovery expenses.
What Can the RDOS Do?
1. We Can Lobby
On September 11th, 2018, RDOS representatives met with senior staff and provincial ministers at the annual Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Park Rill watershed, communicate the concerns raised by residents, provide detailed information about the flooding impacts and request that the province expand their mandate to take mitigative action to permanently address changes to roads and watercourses. The RDOS believes this would be a much more progressive and cost-effective approach than repeating our emergency response actions.
2. We Can Create a Service
As the 2018 – 2022 Term of Office commences for the newly elected RDOS Board of Directors, the issue of emergency preparedness will be a high priority for their attention.
3. We Can Plan
Since the September 11th UBCM meeting, the RDOS has obtained provincial funding from EMBC to conduct a Flood Response Assessment of the Park Rill watershed. The assessment will review all available options for the management of Park Rill with associated impacts, risks and benefits, as well as cost estimates. We anticipate the assessment and final report will be ready by the end of January 2019. Due to high groundwater in the Park Rill watershed there remains an imminent risk of flooding, and the RDOS has continued to keep Electoral Area “C” under a State of Local Emergency. This allows our engineering consultants to actively look at solutions for temporary emergency works, which can be deployed in the event of flooding now, as a result of rain.
4. We can Communicate
Resource information is available on the RDOS EOC website to help you prepare your property. The RDOS EOC will continue to support residents through emergency response should an imminent flooding danger occur. The RDOS does not have jurisdiction over roads, roadside ditches, streams or water bodies. Work in and around these areas must be directed by, or undertaken by, the relevant provincial ministries.