Kamloops braces for possible repeat of 2012 flooding

By Jill Sperling
June 2, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: June 2, 2017 - 5:45pm

KAMLOOPS — As the city braces itself for more high water, many residents can't help but compare river levels to those we saw in 2012. 

The River Forecast Centre has predicted the water to reach similar levels, and city crews are taking precautions. The pier at Riverside Park has been closed to the public, and catch basins in various locations have been sealed. 

With the North Thompson River likely to crest sometime today (June 2), the city is hoping it won't see a repeat of 2012 flooding. But even as city crews and property owners hope for the best, they are preparing for the worst.

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Currently, the Therapeutic Riding Association is less pasture, and more pond.

"It came in Wednesday morning, and it's been coming up pretty steady since then," said Executive Director Ashley Sudds. 

Sudds says it's not unusual for the low-lying ground to see some flooding, but with the threat of water reaching 2012 levels, she too is taking precautions, moving the horses to higher ground. 

"It flooded really bad in 2012," Sudds recalled. "It flooded one of our entire arenas, and I think that they did have to move the horses off the property, so we're hoping it doesn't lead to that."

Sudds isn't the only one hoping to avoid another flood of that degree. 

Gerry Gorman has lived on River Street for 28 years, and this is the fourth time he's had to brace himself for flooding. 

"Nature of the beast when you live down here," Gorman said. "If you want to live in paradise sometimes you've got to tolerate some of mother nature's ways."

During the flooding of 2012, the entire neighbourhood was sandbagging to protect their river-front properties. 

Even with that protection, ground water seeped into homes. 

"Eventually it ends up in your basement, and in most of the basements here," Gorman said. "So you've just got to get your sump pump fired up and keep pumping the water back out, it comes back in, you pump it back out."

City crews have been monitoring water levels closely, and frequently, preparing to implement a diking system at a moment's notice. 

Meantime, residents are encouraged to protect their own properties. 

"Any property owners that had some (flooding) experiences in 2012, we're still asking that they take protective measures," said Tammy Robertson, information officer for Kamloops' Emergency Operations Centre, "just in the event that we do see those higher levels rise, and we do have the sand and sand bags available at the fire stations to support them to do that."

With the river at its current level, city officials are asking boaters to stay off the water, not only because wakes from their vessels can cause bank erosion, but also because it's unsafe for the boaters themselves.

"There's a lot of debris that is floating out there," Robertson said, "there's hidden objects that we cannot possibly see that might be underneath the water, so we really are advising against that."

Unfortunately for flooded properties like that of the Therapeutic Riding Association, that debris will be what's left behind when the water finally recedes.

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