Flooding causes chaos for residents

A massive debris pile of logs makes its way down the Shuswap River Friday morning. - Michael Haak photo
A massive debris pile of logs makes its way down the Shuswap River Friday morning.
— image credit: Michael Haak photo

Anyone who is trying to return to their homes but cannot because of the flood washout can call the Vernon Fire Department (250-542-5361) and arrangements will be made to find alternate accommodation.


Nature has been on the rampage.

Just before 6 a.m. Friday, the lights began to flicker in homes in the Kingfisher area, indicating that a log jam had given way and Cooke Creek, 25 kilometres east of Enderby, had burst its banks.

“It took out four hydro poles and there’s lots of stuff coming down,” said Jackie Pearase, the electoral area director who also lives in the immediate neighbourhood.

A home across the road was in the path of the debris but it appears the occupants were uninjured.

The logs, rocks and soil began pouring into the Shuswap River.

“The river is muddy and super high and there’s lots of debris,” said Pearase Friday.

Michael Haak’s lights went out at 7 a.m. and he went to check on his dairy operation.

“I looked out at the river and it was completely full of logs. I could have walked across it,” said Haak, whose most immediate concern is that his water source has been contaminated.

“I’ve never seen this before. It’s quite a sight.”

A section of Mabel Lake Road was washed out and hydro and communications were severed. It meant that residents right at Mabel Lake were cut off.

“I believe everybody is OK and we are all just waiting to have services and roads restored,” said Terry Laursen, with Mabel Lake Resort, Friday.

Emergency personnel were airlifted into the Kingfisher community.

“We’re trying to co-ordinate and make sure there is food and people know they are looked after,” said Helen Sinclair, with North Okanagan Emergency Management.

The Regional District of North Okanagan expects the Mabel Lake water utility will have sufficient capacity for the weekend, but residents are asked to reduce water and sewer use.

At press time it was not known when the Mabel Lake Road may be reopened, and the Kingfisher garbage transfer station will be closed Sunday.

As the debris flow made its way down the  river Friday, officials stationed themselves at the bridge at Trinity Valley Road.

“The debris did nothing to the bridge but and it managed to get through there but it was a significant debris flow,” said Pete Wise, with Vernon Search and Rescue.

SAR’s swift-water rescue team searched the banks of the Shuswap River to ensure no one had been injured.

“Water is very powerful and very relentless,” said Wise.

Down river, the City of Enderby was concerned about water intakes if the debris reached the community.

“We’re monitoring to ensure there is no damage to critical infrastructure,” said Tate Bengston, chief administrative officer.


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