UPDATE – Flooding creating havoc across Shuswap

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Sicamous firefighter Clayton Allen snapped this photo of the devastation at Two Mile in the District of Sicamous. Firefighters helped evacuate area residents and had planned to assist with evacuation at Swansea Point but the bridge between the two communities was declared unsafe.



Updated Monday, June 25, 12:30 p.m.

The Provincial Emergency Program and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Shuswap Emergency Program will be holding a meeting today at 3 p.m. at the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre arena to provide an update to the ongoing state of emergency in Sicamous.

The meeting is a public advisory meeting for residents who have been evacuated.

With a mandatory do not use water notice in effect, the District of Sicamous has potable water available in the district office parking lot, at Finlayson Park by the museum, as well as at the Sicamous Seniors Centre, where the emergency program has set up a registration centre for those who have been evacuated.

A second meeting will be held at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort in Salmon arm at 7 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Shuswap Emergency Program has declared a state of local emergency in the 2 Mile and Swansea Point areas, and an evacuation order is being enforced by RCMP.

The District of Sicamous has also issued a notice asking that residents not use water from the Mara water system.This is a mandatory order as boiling water will not make it safe for consumption.

North Okanagan-Shuswap School District Superintendent Dave Witt says due to flooding and associated safety concerns all schools in the Sicamous area (Parkview Elementary, StrongStart, the Alternate School, Eagle River Secondary and the Sicamous Learning Centre) are closed effective June 25 until further notice.

Heavy rainfall on the evening of Saturday, June 23, caused Sicamous Creek to burst its banks and, according to SEP, create a new channel, subsequently impacting residents and businesses in the 2 Mile area.

Corey Paiement, information officer in the Emergency Operations Ccentre (EOC) of  Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s  Shuswap Emergency Program, says some 40 homes are affected by the order.

Sicamous Mayor Darrell Trouton, who was on the scene in Two Mile Sunday at noon, said the devastating flood had already destroyed two or three homes.

Severe flooding occurred when Sicamous Creek diverted after a vehicle and other debris jammed up against a walking bridge farther downstream.

“The water flow couldn’t go down to the lake, so it diverted and changed direction, flooding the Waterway Houseboats parking lot,” he says. “If that wouldn’t have happened, the water would have continued flowing to Mara Lake. It might have been frightening, but we wouldn’t be eyeing the devastation we are now.”

Shuswap Marine Freight Services has been using their barges to move people and their vehicles to safety.

He says officials had been keeping an eye on the creek that was gradually rising on Saturday and managed to get crews into the area to shut down power, water and sewer systems in case there was a break in the system.

Trouton says there are now concerns about the highway bridge and area septic systems.

“The bridge is still intact but undermined terribly,” he says, noting the water is level with the bridge.

But, he adds, people are safe and the houseboat companies, RCMP, Shuswap Emergency Program and District of Sicamous are pulling together.

“People are safe, we’re getting them out of there.”

Meanwhile, a blocked culvert caused Hummingbird Creek overflow onto the highway at Swansea Point in Electoral Area E of the CSRD.

Paiement says there’s an assessment team in the area reviewing the situation and some six homes are affected.

“In both areas, there was a tactical evacuation last night; emergency responders visited every home in the affected areas advising them of the situation,” he says.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, a local state of emergency was declared for both Swansea Point and 2 Mile.

The Sicamous Seniors’ Centre located 1091 Shuswap Ave. in Sicamous is open to both people who have been evacuated or have voluntarily left their homes.

Paiement says weather wise, mother nature doesn’t appear to be finished with the Shuswap yet.

Rain showers are expected over the next 24 hours, with the possibility of thunderstorms  –  possibly severe – later this afternoon.

“If this happens, it could include heavy rainfall of between 10 to 20 cm, accompanied by wind gusts of 50 to 60 km,” says Paiement, who noted the level of Shuswap Lake at 10:30 this morning was 349.25 m, and expected to rise 25 to 30 cm over the next few days.

Anyone in need of a ride out of the Two Mile area may call Shuswap Marine Freight Services at 250-833-7677.

Sandbags are available by calling the EOC at 250-833-3350.

The Observer will be updating the situation as more information becomes available.

Highway 97A remains closed as work crews continue to assess the situation at 2 Mile bridge. Information on roads in the affected areas is available at drivebc.ca

Meanwhile, a warning has been issued to boaters regarding the extensive debris in Shuswap and Mara lakes. Extreme care is required.

Video: Washout at 2 Mile through the Waterway Houseboats property, by Kelly M. Dick promotions.