Vernon reminds residents it's their own responsibility to protect private property as creeks begin to rise

Streamside caution urged

The City of Vernon is reminding residents it's their own responsibility to protect private property as creeks and waterways begin to rise as spring freshet nears.

The city encourages all property owners adjacent to creeks and streams to consider whether they are prepared for rising water levels and what steps they may need to take to mitigate risks.

Sand and sandbags are available at the City works yard, outside the east entrance on Pleasant Valley Road. Bring your own shovel.

"If you are near a stream or waterway, please exercise caution and stay away from creekbanks, particularly with children or animals," the city urges.

Each year, the city says it receives inquiries about who owns creek channels and who is responsible for maintenance or bank stabilization. The short answer is – it's you.

"Private property owners are responsible for protecting their property from flood and flood-related risks. If property owners or the general public have a request regarding tree or vegetation maintenance, bank stabilization or the removal of debris in or about a stream, the city will direct the inquiries to the appropriate agency for approval," the city says in a press release.

In B.C., the Water Sustainability Act regulates and applies to any work in and around streams, while the Riparian Areas Protection Regulation protects such areas.

Residents may be required to engage a qualified professional and obtain permits from the province to address waterway concerns as streams are Crown land and are not the property of the city.

Residents are also reminded to not discard branches and pruning material into creek channels, where it could become a hazard.

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