Still fighting after 3 weeks

A North Okanagan woman who hasn't left her property since May 23rd continues efforts to protect her home in one of the areas hardest hit by Okanagan Lake floodwater.

Cindy Brassard and her husband are on an evacuation order at the Louis Estates on Okanagan Indian Band land. That northern section of shoreline has more than 200 residences – both permanent and seasonal – under the evacuation order. The Louis Estates holds 67 of those residences.

“We're one of the few still standing,” said Brassard. “I haven't left here since the first big storm.”

With two, one-metre-high walls of sandbags standing around their house to create a moat and eight pumps going, the Brassards have been able to keep the water from the main floor of the house.

At least 6,000 sandbags have been used and Brassard praised all the people who have volunteered over the last number of weeks.

At the top of the list were the land's leaseholders, Ceil and Carol Louis.

“They have tirelessly sandbagged here and at the band office. They've helped everybody. They've brought equipment here. I can't say enough.”

Brassard said many in her neighbourhood had given up the flood fight and a number had water inside their homes.

The departure of residents brought some unexpected company for a few nights in a row when unknown people were seen approaching the flooded homes. Security has been brought in since then to ensure the houses are protected from thieves.

“We've lived here 18 years and the high water is not usually until the end of June. We never expected it to get like this,” she said, adding they have sandbagged only twice before and not to the same extent.

The moat actually saved the couple's house during last Thursday's windstorm, knocking out a part of one sandbag wall but not the one closest to the residence.

Brassard praised the groups of volunteers who came out to sandbag, while others brought in food and water, stating that her house wouldn't have had a chance without their help.

“People from all over stopped by to help and we're going to keep on fighting.”

The list of those she wished to thank included:

  • Electric Ninja and Mechanical
  • Shockproof Electric
  • Great West Equipment
  • Blenz Coffee Vernon
  • North Okanagan Hot Air Balloon Society
  • Cecil and Carol Louis from Louis Estates
  • Keisenwetter Trucking
  • Okanagan Indian Band Volunteer Fire Department
  • Vernon Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Clinic

“They have been wonderful,” Brassard said.

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