The Regional District of North Okanagan has limited ability to get involved in minimizing flooding, but officials insist they want to help residents in need.
Administration is meeting today (Thursday) to determine what it can do to help in the electoral areas where high water is a threat, and particularly rural Enderby and Cherryville.
“We want to be able to respond,” said Trafford Hall, administrator.
One of the challenges is many of the responsibilities in the rural areas are with the provincial government, including the Ministry of Transportation over road conditions and drainage.
Unlike municipalities, RDNO does not have a public works yard and does not have access to heavy equipment.
“We can deposit sand and sandbags at strategic locations,” said Hall, adding that is being done under a contract with North Okanagan Emergency Management, a City of Vernon-based agency.
There is not the ability to help residents with sandbagging.
“The responsibility for property protection is up to the property owner,” said Hall.
RDNO is also ensuring that its public utilities, such as water treatment plants, are not being adversely impacted by flooding.
As a partner with North Okanagan Emergency Management, the regional district could also ensure proper information is getting out to residents about what services are available.
As part of that, a flooding link has been placed on its website (rdno.ca).
“We’re posting regular information on flooding, road closures and where you can get sandbags,” said Leah Mellott, electoral areas general manager.
Director Kevin Acton believes the regional district should establish a plan so water is released from reservoirs early in the season to make room for projected heavy runoff, which could create flooding.
“With the control of water, there is a responsibility for what happens downstream,” he said specifically of Duteau Creek, which is a Greater Vernon drinking water source but has flooded in Lumby.