Sicamous Creek will be put in its place sometime soon.
Shuswap Emergency Plan co-ordinator Cliff Doherty says the creek continues to flow in the channel it gouged out for itself when it overflowed the old channel.
“The new channel is basically where the old road to the landfill was,” says Doherty. “Highways crews and contractors have been cleaning out the pre-event channel and they’ve had engineers draw up a design as to how it should be to prepare it or make it better for future events.”
Sicamous Creek experienced a debris flow 15 years ago, at the same time Hummingbird Creek overflowed its banks in 1997. He says the headwaters for Mara, Hummingbird and Sicamous creeks are all in the same area so rainfall or snowpack affect both watersheds in the same way.
Doherty says he is not sure what the time frame is on finishing the current work being done by the province, but when it is, the creek will be redirected to its former channel.
“When that happens, they can fill the flood channel in and rebuild that portion of Highway 97 and reconstruct Two Mile Road leading to the landfill,” says Doherty. “It is possible it might not be ready until October.”
In the meantime, residents are permitted to place their household garbage in temporary bins set up at the Sicamous dog park, beside the public works facility.
All the costs of transporting the household waste to Salmon Arm and the tipping fees are being absorbed by the province.
“That’s them saying sorry to residents that they don’t have a landfill,” says Doherty, noting the province, Columbia Shuswap Regional District and District of Sicamous are working together to benefit residents.
He says the estimated cost of the flooding to the municipality of Sicamous is in the magnitude of half a million dollars. The district does qualify for disaster financial assistance. Doherty says the first claims have been received by the province, but he is not aware of any cheque being cut as yet. He says all restoration works must be completed within 18 months and that funding will be ongoing.
Doherty says the Sicamous debris flow and flooding brought out the best in a number of people.
“Personally, this is the most significant event that has occurred in my time as emergency program co-ordinator,” he said. “There’s great, great kudos to all the people who pulled together. We had extraordinary effort by our social services volunteers and the many groups, people and agencies, who came together to help citizens across the Shuswap to clean up.”