Residents in Lower Nicola concerned with more snowmelt, rain coming

By Chad Klassen
May 9, 2017 - 5:30pm

KAMLOOPS — While flood waters have subsided slightly, homes remain threatened, but warmer weather and rain forecast for Thursday is concerning residents along Guichon Creek who have dodged a bullet.

At 9 p.m. Monday, the Thompson Nicola Regional District issued a Local State of Emergency, wanting the authority to do all the repair work needed to keep water away from homes. There are only evacuation alerts at this point, but people have voluntarily left knowing it's not safe. 

"There are folks that decided they should leave, and in a couple of cases, two that I'm aware of, that really shouldn't have people in them right now," said Area 'M' Director Randy Murray. "They have voluntarily left their properties, which was for their own safety, and they made the right call."

John Paul's property right next to Guichon Creek may have been swept away if not for the help of neighbours who stabilized the bank. 

"It's safe, but they're talking about the precarious situation with the dam. That it might have to be released more. That would be disappointing because I don't know if what we have in place here would be sufficient," said Paul. 

The bridge on Marshall Road is washed out, and the Ministry of Transportation is working to remove the bridge to avoid any more blockages along the creek. 

It may take up to a year to rebuild with an old railway bridge the only way out.

"That'll be the next big challenge is infrastructure rebuilding," said Murray. "There are lots of ministries involved right now, and we'll be working with them in the future to hopefully get things back in order as quickly as possible."

The TNRD declared the Local State of Emergency to provide the district authority to conduct necessary work. 

"We can put riprock in or do other kinds of work around repairing areas and streams. That's simply what it was put in for," said Debbie Sell, the emergency communications officer with the TNRD. 

Meantime, the Upper Nicola Indian Band has issued 11 evacuation orders affecting 30 people. The plan is to reaccess the situation on Saturday, according to chief Harvey McLeod.

There are two orders at the Lower Nicola Indian Band, affecting 11 homes and 30 people as well, but chief Aaron Sam says they will be re-evaluated later this week. 

For residents affecting in the TNRD, you can contact the emergency line at 1-866-377-7188. 

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