It has taken months but the last of the flood evacuees at the hard-hit north end of Okanagan Lake can finally go home. Many are already there and working to restore their properties.
The Okanagan Indian Band has lifted the last evacuation order on lots sitting along the water's edge at the Louis Estates. The decision pertains to all properties below the High Road.
Resident Cindy Brassard said almost everyone is back and working inside and outside of houses and cabins, many of which were badly damaged by the flooding.
“We have taken the sandbags out. The band is just here removing a pile of sandbags we had at the back of the house,” said Brassard on Wednesday morning. “They still have to move all of the wood.”
The job is so massive that, by the middle of July, crews had already collected 175 tonnes of wood waste from the north end of the lake, residents were told. As well, 9,000 litres of contaminated water had been picked up.
Brassard said everyone is pulling together, with neighbour helping neighbour to get some semblance of order on each property.
“Great West Equipment came out some weeks ago and donated a skid steer which we are using to pick up sandbags and debris. Electric Ninja has put in a brand new pump for a (resident). A man who owns a car wash company has been out pre-washing cabins and disinfecting lawns....Other neighbours are raking up people's yards.
“Everybody's pulling together. It's just wonderful.”
Meanwhile, the job is far from over and some residences are not yet liveable due to flood damage.
While Brassard and her husband fought hard to keep the water from invading the inside of their house, the dock and defensive walls by the lake are gone.
“We've got a pile driver in right now to replace the front water walls.”
Such was the damage that Brassard is still asking boaters to stay away from that northwest section of the lake.
“We can still flood. Boaters should stay across the lake and not fly past our houses.”