Joe Oranchuk’s painted turtle ponds are four inches higher than normal, a stream now runs through his property, his fields which housed goats, chickens and bees have turned to swamps and his basement flooded.
He has lived at his Spiers Road property since 1984 and he’s never experienced anything like it.
“It started from Spiers Road and the city wasn’t looking out for us at all. It comes through the road, and they just let it go over the road, it flooded this whole area,” he said.
“I had animals out there that are flooded, and no one’s come out to look at them.”
Last year, Oranchuk’s property flooded but not to this extent, he said. He is calling on the city to take a look at the damage because he said they should have done some ditch maintenance.
The city, however, has a differing view. A culvert was blocked on private property, said city communications officer Tom Wilson.
“A city crew on the scene to protect Speirs Road (city property) with an excavator, was working blindly under the water to unblock the culvert and save that section of Spiers Road from washing out,” said Wilson. “ There was no time or realistic ability to release the water slowly through the culvert – it needed to be unblocked to save Spiers Road from eventually failing.”
Darin Thompson, with the city’s roadways construction department, said there has been flooding where it’s never seen before, including Kirschner Mountain, Summit Drive and Union Drive, which had water coming out of the asphalt.
It’s also up to the private property owners to maintain their private ditches and culverts, said Thompson. City culverts have been checked and are flowing and a city staffer had checked the area Thursday morning, he said.
West Kelowna is experiencing similar water issues. To get ahead of flooding city staff have begun the installation of a bladder dam on the west side of Gellatly Road, extending from the Cove Lakeside Resort to the bridge over Powers.
The bladder dam is a temporary installation but will be in place until threat of creek flooding has passed. It is just one of several flood-prevention measures the City has put in place on Gellatly Road which flooded during the 2017 freshet. Rotary Trails Park remains closed and is a staging area for creek flood response equipment.
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