Brian Guy.

Internal review of the province’s response to floods is complete

Vernon engineer assesses decisions in lead-up to 2017 floods

A retired Vernon engineer has completed a technical assessment of the decisions made by the provincial government during last year’s disastrous floods throughout the Okanagan Valley.

And Brian Guy says the yet-to-be-released report contains “a long list of recommendations” based on the monitoring data that was collected and assessed.

Hired by the province to perform an independent review, Guy told the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) this week his review has been submitted to the provincial government, and discussion about how the report will be rolled out is currently taking place.

While he wouldn’t say specifics of the report, Guy acknowledged there is great interest in his findings from municipalities across the Okanagan Valley because of the impact the flooding imposed on the region.

“Kelowna spent $2.5 million on flood-related response work, so the question of whether the province did its job or not is a question many municipalities are interested in,” said Guy. “It was an internal study of how ministry staff responded and they wanted an outside independent person do it.”.

A request for proposals went out last year and Guy’s former firm, Associated Engineering in Vernon, got the contract for the review.

“I just retired last year so someone else in our office started working on this and then took another job, so I inherited it from him to see it completed,” said Guy.

“It was a lot of fun for me to do. It is related a part of our country, the Okanagan, that I enjoy living in and I am passionate about Okanagan water issues.”

Guy sits on the Okanagan Basin Water Board and serves as chair of the regional water stewardship advisory committee.

His career spanned 35 years as a water resource specialist, project manager and business leader. In 1994, he founded Summit Environmental Consultants Ltd. in Vernon, growing the company to become a leading environmental consulting firm in the Okanagan.

His firm was merged with the Associated Engineering group of companies in 2010.

With his retirement last year, Guy was presented with the C.J.Westerman Memorial Award, the highest award, presented by the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, for contributions to the geoscience profession.

Related: Engineers honour Vernon man

Guy told the board his report took three months from September to November to compile and is based on monitoring data that was collected and assessed.

Meanwhile, a strategic review initiated by Premier John Horgan has appointed former Liberal cabinet minister George Abbott and Maureen Chapman, hereditary chief of the Skawahlook First Nation, to preside over a the review of the wildfire season last year that saw 65,000 displaced from their homes and 1.2 million hectares burned.

Direct fire suppression costs alone are expected to approach $600 million when the final tally is complete. Together with the spring floods, the year accounted for $400 million in claims for disaster financial assistance, the largest in provincial history.

That report is due for completion in April, and is public release may be tied closely to the public unveiling of the Okanagan Lake flooding report.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

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