State of local emergency now lifted in Summerland

Two Garnett Valley properties had been evacuated following recent mudslide

Water-saturated land gave way this morning above Garnet Valley Road in Summerland. (Photo courtesy District of Summerland)

A state of local emergency, issued for two properties in the Garnett Valley Road area following a mudslide, has now been lifted.

The mudslide occurred on March 30 when an area around 10 metres wide at the crest of the slope above the road washed out. The soil and tree debris affected two properties in the area.

The state of local emergency was extended on Friday, after reports from the municipality’s geotechnical engineer indicated there was a continued risk in the area because of indications of ground instability.

Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said while the state of local emergency has been lifted, the area remains under an evacuation alert.

She said the state of local emergency means the municipality is eligible to apply for funding through the provincial Emergency Management Program.

Speaking to municipal council on Monday evening, Tynan said there are concerns about ground water, reservoirs and creeks and the water in Okanagan Lake this year.

“We’re seeing unprecedented levels of ground water,” she said.

In addition, the snow pack and water in local reservoirs are much higher than in previous years.

Overnight on April 8 to 9, the water level at Garnett Dam rose by 10.8 centimetres, she said.

She added that the snow pack is also much higher than usual.

Measures have been taken to control the water level in Okanagan Lake and at present, the lake level is looking good, Tynan said.

Because of the recent wet weather and forecast for more rain, residents of Summerland are encouraged to be aware of any ground movement as very high groundwater levels are being experienced.

Slopes may be saturated and subject to groundwater erosion or slippage. If there are signs of such movement, individuals should leave the area immediately.

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