'Like a tsunami wave'

Alanna Kelly

Residents living on a Southeast Kelowna road fear this is just the beginning of flooding on their properties. 

A clogged culvert was unplugged on Tuesday, sending water rushing towards properties on Heimlich Road and leaving home owners with serious flooding and a huge headache.

According to resident Jeff Neuss, 10 properties were impacted from the overflowing water and many yards still filled with water.

"I don’t want to be dramatic, but it was like a tsunami wave," he said. "We had a large influx of water and they didn’t give us any notice."

The City of Kelowna was notified about a culvert blocked with plants and branches at 9 a.m. By noon, the road over the culvert was completely under water.

“A city crew was working blindly under the water to unblock the culvert and save that section of Spiers Road from being washed out,” said City of Kelowna spokesperson Tom Wilson.

“There was no time or realistic ability to release the water slowly through the culvert – it needed to be unblocked to save Spiers Road from eventually failing.”

Neuss was shocked when he saw the water ripping through Rumorh Creek and overflowing. 

“I was in disbelief that they could treat anyone like that. At the very least give someone notice,” he said.

Another neighbour living on Heimlich Road, Ron, has water surrounding his entire home.

“We called the fire department hoping they have a big pumper that they could come pump into the stream, but they don’t want to have anything to do with that, the city doesn’t want to have anything to do with that,” said Ron.

He says his five acres of farm land is now a lake.

“It’s a lake, you could put a boat on there,” he said. “We are stuck with it. We have no where to pump it.”

Neuss said he is worried this is just the beginning of dealing with flood water for him and his neighbours.

“Until this spring freshet clears out… that could back up the capacity of what we got, this may just be the beginning and we still have Mission Creek which is just down the road,” he said.

City staff tell Castanet the work to unblock the culvert on private property has also resolved flooding risks upstream from that culvert as well.

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