City continues annual preparations for spring freshet season

May 4, 2021

The City of Vernon is continuing its regular, annual preparations in the spring freshet season as the weather continues to warm and we experience occasional rainfall in the North Okanagan.

City crews are actively monitoring creek levels and provincial snowpack reports for our local area, and checking City infrastructure that could be impacted by increased water levels such as roads, culverts, outfalls, bridges and storm retention structures.

“Utility crews have removed sediment from the two sediment basins located on BX Creek,” said Sean Irwin, Manager, Utilities. “Sediment has also been removed from the BX Creek dam site below Silver Star Road.”

In total, more than 1,000 cubic meters of sediment was removed this year.

“The City is closely monitoring the weather and snow melt conditions in higher elevations,” said Irwin. “The water level and creek flow has started to increase along Upper and Lower BX Creeks and in Vernon Creek. At this time, all three creeks have additional capacity available.”

“Weather is a factor in freshet,” said Sue Saunders, Emergency Program Coordinator. “Sudden and prolonged warm spells or heavy rainfall at this time of year, can tip the potential for flooding. Therefore, the City encourages all property owners adjacent to creeks to closely and regularly monitor their properties and consider whether they are prepared for the potential of changing conditions.”

Private property owners are reminded they are responsible for protecting their property from flood and flood-related risks, as indicated in the City’s Streamside Maintenance Policy. If flood risk warrants protective works, residents may access sand and sandbags at the City of Vernon Operations building, located at 1900 48th Avenue. Residents are reminded to bring their own shovel to fill sandbags and are asked to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols.

For more information from the BC River Forecast Centre regarding spring freshet and snow conditions, please visit the Province’s website. And for additional information to help prepare yourself, your family, and your property for freshet, please visit PreparedBC.