A young man (from Kelowna) building one of the many pyre from wood washed up to the Okanagan shore due to the flood. Photo courtesy of John Poon

Flood damage for City of Penticton estimated at over $600,000

Penticton has now moved into the recovery phase of flooding

Repairing the damage from the high lake levels and storms this spring isn’t going to be cheap.

The community heard over the summer how much was spent on the emergency response — sandbagging, Tiger Dams along with other protective measures and emergency repairs.

Related: Damages from Okanagan high water tops $780k in Penticton

Ian Chapman, city engineer, told city council that Penticton has now moved into the recovery phase, which involves both repair, and in some cases, taking advantage of the work for betterment of the existing structures.

Chapman’s report estimates the overall cost of repairs at up to $620,264, of which the Province of B.C. is expected to cover a little more than half. The city’s portion of the costs is estimated at up to $308,853.

One of the most dramatic problems created by the high lake levels was with the SS Sicamous, which was afloat for the first time in decades.

“The floodwaters actually raised the boat up two feet,” said Chapman, citing concerns that the boat might settle unevenly, and stress the boat. That was corrected by washing sand under the boat so it would settle evenly. Now, the boat now sits about 18 inches higher than before meaning connecting structures are out of alignment with the deck levels.

Related: The SS Sicamous is floating

Chapman said the plan is to also install logs or rocks to help disperse wave action and protect the new sand bed.

“Beach sand erosion is the other issue that happened in this area,” said Chapman, displaying a photo showing the amount of sand lost against the boardwalk wall in The Pines area.

“We figure we have lost up to 16 inches of sand,” said Chapman, noting that the boardwalk is now 30 inches above the beach in some places. “It presents somewhat more of a hazard.”

Sand erosion is a factor in a number of areas along the Okanagan Lake foreshore, including a number of places where pavers have been undermined and will have to be reset.

One of the biggest jobs will be the repair of the Kiwanis walking pier, which suffered severe damage after being buffeted by storm-driven waves. The full cost of repairing the pier isn’t known. Chapman said this is the only area where the city’s insurance will play a part in covering the costs.

Chapman said they are waiting for the results of an engineering inspection before setting out costs and a timetable for repair.

“We just wanted to give you an indication of how bad things are out at the end of the pier,” Chapman told council, showing images of support beams shifted off the piling meant to support them.

“Unfortunately, a lot of these pilings have rotted over the years,” continued Chapman.

That wasn’t caused by the floodwater, he explained, but contributed to the damage as waves crashed into the pier this spring.

The inspection, he explained, couldn’t be done until the lake level dropped low enough so inspectors could get down underneath it to see how bad the damage was. Until the engineering report is finished, he’s not sure how long it will take to repair.

“If it is a relatively modest amount of work, we could probably get to it next year. But if it is far more extensive than that, it could go into 2019,” said Chapman.

Some of the items, like the work that needs to be done around the SS Sicamous are relatively straightforward, according to Chapman, and should be done soon.

“We are proposing we move forward with those repairs before the winter comes and make matters worse,” said Chapman, who estimated the costs for this year’s work at about $110,222, of which the provincial emergency fund would cover $88,178. Chapman’s report also requests $50,000 to get design and permitting work going for major works like repair of the sheet pile wall and installation of lost beach sand.

Chapman said replacing the sand likely won’t rely on dredging sand from the lake and bringing it back to the shore, adding that he has been advised that sand could play a role in dissipating wave action during future events.He also noted that the province prefers dredging.

“They also acknowledge that a lot of the sand that was sitting there has disappeared into deeper water. It will not be seen again,” said Chapman.

Council voted unanimously to approve funding for the lakeshore recovery.

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