A recent study shows Sicamous has some work to do towards the prevention of future flooding.
The District of Sicamous council recently saw the results of a hydraulic conveyance assessment done by Kerr Wood Leidal. The assessment, paid for with provincial grant money, looked at the flow of water through the channel in relation to past and future flood events.
A related presentation by Kerr Wood Leidal project manager Dwayne Meredith includes a map that showing how a 200 year flood would covering a significant portion of the community to the east of the channel – much more than what was seen during the 2012’s high water/debris flow events.
The presentation also highlights a few of the numerous contributors to flooding events related to the channel, including: changes related to soil erosion and sedimentation; riparian area development and construction of docks; higher inflows from such things as longterm climate cycles and climate change; and changes in downstream water levels in Shuswap Lake.
Meredith’s recommendation to the district was that it complete an integrated flood hazard management plan that would further refine potential hazards and consequences, establish options for mitigation and provide opportunities for public engagement.
Mayor Terry Rysz said the assessment and Meredith’s recommendation provides a starting point from which the district can take that next step towards reducing the impact of future flood events on the community.
“It’s just another tool for us to maybe lobby with the provincial and federal governments to maybe help our community with flood mitigation,” said Rysz. “And you know, it’s always dicey when you’re dealing with the waterways. It’s federal and provincial. The municipal government… doesn’t have a whole lot of control over the waterfront. So this is a way that we can kind of lobby in order to get something done that might be able to correct a lot of wrongs in there.”
The BC government views flood hazard plans use management as “the most practical and cost-effective way to reduce the effects of flooding on lives and property,” adding this approach requires the co-operation of all levels of government, developers, builders, realtors and the public.
Rysz says the assessment also adds weight to council’s longterm vision of building a wall/walkway along the east side of the channel.
“If we were able to build a wall on the perimeter there, it would be hugely beneficial for making our community more walkable, right… and at the same time prevent water going up on Main Street,” said Rysz. “We expect… there will be better flow through the channel. We might never have to dredge the channel again if we get that wall up there. But that remains to be seen. I’m not a scientist right. The study is mainly there to take a look at flood mitigation more so than the channel dredging.”