Okanagan neighbours losing their yards to creek washout

Okanagan neighbours losing their yards to creek washout

The Vernon neighbours say they’ve spoken to the city about removing debris from the creek, to no avail

Vernon residents living creekside along 25th Avenue have seen their properties diminished by washout, and are asking the city for help.

Jody Power lives at 4808 25th Avenue. She and her next-door neighbours—Tyson Assi and a couple who declined to be named—have watched as the ground along their fence line has disappeared, at times suddenly, during the influx of rain and snowmelt in the past several weeks.

“We don’t know how bad we’re undercut, so we don’t know how much more we’re going to lose,” Power said. “Our concern right now is our safety and our loss of land, and then also our property values. How are we going to get this back?”

Power and her neighbours say they’ve been in touch with the City of Vernon on multiple occasions regarding a debris build-up in the middle of the creek, caused by a large tree that split in the middle of the stream a few years ago.

The fallen tree has accumulated a build-up of natural debris, as well as discarded items ranging from patio furniture to bicycles.

On April 27, the bank along the properties gave out, destroying the fence and about five feet of backyard at 4806 25th Avenue, with similar damage to the neighbouring properties on either side.

READ MORE: Avoid creeks and banks during stormy weather: City of Vernon

READ MORE: Water springs from retaining wall near Vernon’s Polson Park

The neighbours say the debris pile has diverted the creek flow against the bank and is responsible for its washing out.

“The city sent a work crew here and they started removing some branches and whatnot from the creek, but it was high water back then and they couldn’t really do much,” the resident at 4806 said.

On Friday, June 12 the City of Vernon said crews are actively monitoring roughly 55 sites throughout the city, assessing them for hazards and clearing them of debris.

However, the group of neighbours say that on the one hand, they’ve been told by the city that they can’t do anything in the creek to clear the debris themselves, because it’s under provincial jurisdiction and permits are required. On the other hand, they said they’ve been told it’s their responsibility to protect their own property.

“We’re stuck in the middle,” said the resident at 4806. “We’re on the high side, we can’t just throw sandbags in. We’re not protecting ourselves from water coming over for a flood, we’re protecting ourselves from an undercut.”

“They told us it’s our responsibility to protect our property,” Power said. “Well how do you protect your property when there’s nothing to protect now?”

Sandbags are a useful resource in situations of potential flooding, but for the neighbours, flooding is far from the issue at hand. Being on the high side of the creek, the problem is protecting the bank itself.

The neighbours said they’ve been in touch with Rick Peleshytyk, section head of the Regional Water Management for the Thompson-Okanagan region, who sent a hydrogeologist to the property on May 13. Peleshytyk was not available for comment on Saturday, June 13.

But with high water season in full swing, there’s nothing that can be done for the time being.

“It wouldn’t be good to get in there now because it’s high water,” Assi said.

For now, the neighbours say they’re hoping applications for clearing the creek will be completed in time to avoid having the same problem next year.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

flooding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A rendering of the proposed “Aqua” resort in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area. (Contributed)
Towering waterfront resort planned in Kelowna

Mission Group’s ‘Aqua’ resort has been in the works for more than a decade

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

Okanagan Symphony Orchestra music director Rosemary Thomson in action at the podium. Photo by Lynda Miller.
Kelowna filmmaker gets funding to create new ‘Local Heroes’ documentary

The documentary will be focused on the director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Opera

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read