Floods evacuate hotel

UPDATE: 9:25 p.m.

The entire Coast Hotel in Osoyoos has been evacuated due to flooding from the rising Osoyoos Lake.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen says there is an immediate danger to life and safety due to "flooding and lake inundation."

The hotel sits on the small arm that separates the north of the lake from the south. Several other hotels, including the Holiday Inn and Suites and Richter Pass Motor Inn are on the same piece of land, but have not been evacuated. 

UPDATE: 9 p.m.

As Osoyoos Lake approaches historic levels and residents work to deal with flooding, they can no longer rely on draining into the town's sewer system. 

"The Town of Osoyoos is ordering that the act of directing basement flood or ground water directly into the town's sewer system, through the use of sump pumps or other infrastructure, stop immediately," Barry Romanko, Oliver's chief administrative officer said in a news release.

"The Town is also ordering that all homes or businesses with basement flood water cover their floor drains and use other methods of draining their flood water outside the home."

Romanko says sewer pump infrastructure is currently working beyond its capacity, which could result in a "breakdown of the town sewer management system."

Those continuing to direct basement and ground water into the sewer system "may be subject to penalty."

ORIGINAL: 4:30 p.m.

Residents in some neighbourhoods of Osoyoos are receiving evacuation orders this afternoon, due to the lake's water level rapidly approaching a historic record.

Flooding is widespread at lakeshore businesses and properties in town, with residents working frantically to sandbag.

As of Thursday afternoon, the lake level was at 915.91 feet, well above last year's maximum. The historic maximum is just above 917 feet, and there's no sign the climb will stop anytime soon.

"The snowpack is still significant and the temperatures are going to rise to the 30s by the weekend," said town councillor Mike Campol, adding that the worry is high temperatures will trigger a more rapid melt of the remaining snowpack.

Hotels along the lakeshore, including the Holiday Inn and Coast Hotel, are dealing with water overwhelming their boat launches, and many lakeside residents are seeing water overwhelming their backyards. 

The Osoyoos Fire Department wrote on Facebook Thursday that it is issuing evacuation orders to 16 units in Willow Beach, and for 11 homes on Harbour Key and Solona Key Court.

Sannah Fletcher of Osoyoos Loop organized a group of volunteers to make and deliver sandbags to problem areas Thursday morning. 

"I had put out the word that we needed some community help, and it's amazing all the people that have showed up," Fletcher said. 

Resident Sylvia Mahovlic-Conrad has been documenting the water progression, walking down to problem spots each day and taking photos.

"I was here last year at this time and saw the same thing, but this looks like it's going to get worse," Mahovlic-Conrad said. 

Another lakeside resident, John Pringle, said he had put roughly 400 sandbags around his property in the last few weeks, but had noticed a rapid increase in water levels in the last day. 

"I've done about 70 bags, I bet you, today," Pringle said. 

Still, Campol said this was a good example of the kind of community Osoyoos is. 

"This is our community doing what our community does which is helping out," Campol said. "They come together and help when there's a need."

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