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Lumby on flood watch

Spring floods have ravaged the North Okanagan town of Lumby for the past three years, and Mayor Kevin Acton is once again anticipating the water levels to rise.

“The fields coming into town are flooding and the creek is coming up for sure,” he says, adding they have already been under one flooding advisory that has since been lifted.

“However, I believe we’re in an imminent flooding situation. We’ve called out the emergency response teams and we have 40 firemen here sandbagging, diking, working with some machinery and working with the waters as they rise.”

It was late May when Lumby found itself submerged under rising water levels from Duteau Creek. The floodwaters, caused by heavy snowmelt and extensive precipitation, forced a handful of homes to be evacuated and it damaged downtown businesses.

After last year’s floods, the town brought in an engineer to assess the situation. His report showed where the issues were and how they can best deal with them in the future.

“We’re following his recommendations and hopefully with the plans put in place, we’ll be able to do the things we need to do,” says Acton.

“We’re working really hard to make sure we don’t have a duplication of what happened last year.”

According to the mayor, the Regional District of the North Okanagan has again not made any long-term changes to the area to address the flooding and they’ve had little communication so far this year.

“In fairness to them, they’re running without an administrator at this point,” notes Acton.

“Where we go from here with them I’m sure will be on a positive note. But (we) certainly haven’t heard anything from them this year on the flooding situation.”

The snowpack this year is slightly above normal for the Lumby area.

“If the rains come, we may even be worse off than we were last year because there’s just so much more potential. Although it’s not doing it yet, the potential for a serious issue is certainly looming over us.”

Acton says property owners in the area will be responsible for protecting their own property against flooding and can pick up sandbags in the gravel parking lot located at 2230 Shields Avenue, across from the Lumby Arena/Curling Rink.

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