TNRD addressing Guichon Creek flood mitigation concerns

By Dylana Milobar
November 8, 2018 - 5:35pm

KAMLOOPS —The Thompson Nicola Regional District is addressing concerns raised around preventative flood measures being removed from the Guichon Creek area.

The walls of rocks and dirt — known as 'berms' — were created as a temporary measure during spring flooding, which has plagued the area over the last two years.

Earlier this week, residents expressed concerns that dismantling the berms could spell disaster once flood season hits, however the TNRD says their hands are tied, and there might not be any other choice.

Director of Community Services, Ron Storie, says the temporary factor of emergency flood protection means some legislative challenges in keeping the berms in place.

"The way it works with EMBC, (Emergency Management B.C) is that the emergency works that are put in, have to be removed at some point."

Emotions were running high at a meeting on Tuesday (Nov. 6) between the TNRD and the community, as Guichon Creek residents, like Andy Schindler, wonder what's next for their homes.

"They're mandated, they say, to take these temporary berms out because of the risk and stuff like that," Schindler says. "They called it a false sense of security, but we've all said, well a false sense of security is better than no sense at all."

Schindler says if removing the berms is what has to happen, then there needs to be a long term solution on the table.

"It has to be a permanent structure put in," he says. "We have to work together with the Lower Nicola Indian Band and everybody has to get together and figure out a solution, because it's just not us on this, it's the other side of the creek too that's involved."

Meanwhile, Storie says, permanent problem solving is being considered, however its not a simple, one-step procedure to get stable flood mitigation in place.

"When we get into something more permanent, like people there are talking about dyking structure. They are very well thought out, there's a science involved," Storie explains. "So the hydrology assessment has to be done. They look at compaction of materials, size of materials, placement of materials, downstream impacts, who is going to be impacted by what."

"Obviously, it's a contentious issue, it's very emotional for them," Storie says. "I understand their homes have been impacted, their businesses are impacted, but at the end of the day it's a legislative or regulatory requirement."

Storie admits a reduction is not a perfect solution, and for such a complicated situation, they are working on a way to solve the problem.

"We will do whatever it takes to help them out again next year, but in the meantime, we're hoping that if we can come up with a solution instead of removing them completely, and moving them out of there, that maybe there's another option, and that's what we're investigating right now."

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