Mayor defends flood alert

Mayor Colin Basran responded to criticism Monday that he caused unnecessary alarm by releasing a video warning Kelowna residents of potential dangers from what many believed would be once in a century flooding.

May 10, a few days after heavy rain caused significant flooding across Kelowna, Basran appeared in a video warning residents that more storms had the potential to swell the city’s creeks and rivers to “levels we’ve never seen before.”

The mayor told residents to “prepare for potential flooding unlike we’ve ever seen in our community.”

He asked every Kelowna resident to prepare a 72-hour emergency kit.

“Help might not be able to access you for a couple of days,” he said.

However, weather over the weekend was fairly placid, and the continued flooding didn’t materialize.

“While some may feel like perhaps we sounded the alarm a bit too loudly, I believe that everything that was done was appropriate,” Basran said Monday.

“You could just imagine what would have happened if all those factors we were anticipating had come together – just what a different story this would be.”

Basran said he would much rather have Kelowna residents be too prepared than not prepared enough.

“I think it’s one of the few times that maybe we’re happy that the meteorologists got it wrong, because there was very real potential for unlike anything we had ever seen in our community,” he said.

He warned residents that “we aren’t out of it yet.”

He pointed out that Okanagan Lake is at full pool and doesn’t have room for any more water. He reminded people not to remove any sandbags they have in place, and to stay vigilant.


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