Residents along Mill Creek scramble to fight floods

Debris clogs creek, floods

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.

City of Kelowna director of infrastructure Alan Newcombe tells Castanet the flooding along Mill Creek last night was caused by a pulse of debris being washed down the creek by heavy rain.

Crews have made considerable progress clearing debris blockages, but that work will continue throughout Thursday.

A resident of an apartment building at 534 Sutherland Avenue says he looked out the window at about 3 a.m. to a dry laneway. Just ten minutes later, it was quickly filling with water. 

“We knew there was going to be flooding and we had occupied units in the lower floor, so we had to do something with them,” said Scott Thompson, adding the water level rose about 20 centimetres in less than 30 minutes. 

Two ground floor units were completely swamped, Thompson said, explaining the rest of the building’s residents jumped into action to start bailing them out.

“It is one of those buildings, if something happens, we help each other,” he said.

One of the units was occupied by a man who moved in just four days ago, while the other, a young family. By 5:30 a.m. there were more than a dozen building residents and neighbours helping out. 

Thompson said around 15 cars were rushed out the flooding parkade, but expects about 6 or 7 will be completely written off. 

The water did not get high enough to impact electrical infrastructure, which would have triggered an evacuation like in 2017

“Thankfully the water started receding before it got to that deep. We are still a little concerned though,” Thompson said, referring to the rest of the spring freshet still to come.

Flooding also impacted homes and roads on Buckland Avenue, Rowcliffe Avenue, Marshall Street and Elliot Avenue. At-risk residents along Mill Creek spent much of Thursday morning filling sandbags.

"The risk remains low for widespread flooding; however, localized flooding is still possible in the event of heavy rain,” said Newcombe.

Bulman Road remains closed and the city says pumps are in place where flooding persists.

“Please stay away from the area while crews are working. We are asking the public to please refrain from trying to clear debris from creeks yourself, as we don’t want the public to put themselves at risk,” said Newcombe.

Overall, indications are that mid-elevation snowpack is already in significant decline and the risk for general flooding is low, the city added.

ORIGINAL 11 a.m.

Mill Creek has burst its banks in Kelowna.

Homes and roads on Sutherland Avenue, Buckland Avenue, Rowcliffe Avenue, Marshall Street and Elliot Avenue have been impacted. The Shaughnessy apartment building on Sutherland Avenue has had its ground floor swamped. 

On the north end of the city, the Shadow Ridge Golf Course has also closed due to high water.

Castanet reporter Sarita Patel is on the scene speaking with residents.

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