With Osoyoos Lake’s water level topping 914 feet this morning, the Town of Osoyoos is stepping up its game to keep the community safe.
The Town has added another sandbag resource and pondering a suspension of boat-access services at its downtown marina and other motor-craft launch points.
“At the highest level last year we were at 914.88 feet,” Janette Van Vianen, the Town’s Director of Corporate Services, told Council this morning. “We’re just under a foot below where we were at our max last year.”
Another location to collect sand and sandbags was added over the weekend, she added, the Town setting up a third site at the west end of the boat trailer parking lot.
“Right now, there are three sandbag locations: across from the Dairy Queen, the west side of the boat trailer parking and at the bottom of Graveyard Hill on 91 St,” she said.
“I would say people that were almost flooding last year should probably consider sandbagging.”
“It’s pretty scary,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff, adding she has talked with her municipal peers south of the US border.
“The biggest concern they have down there is the water from the Similkameen coming down and backing up over the dam. The dam has been wide open for about six weeks.”
If the Similkameen does overwhelm Zosel Dam — located in Oroville, just south of the US border — it would cause the water level in Osoyoos Lake to rise even more.
That would likely bring a decision to close the town marina, CAO Barry Romanko told Council.
“We’ll be monitoring the water level and once we get near to where we were last year, we’ll probably having to close our marina, just for the protection of shoreline,” he said.
He added that would likely limit motorized boat traffic on the lake as other access points followed that lead.
“Last year, when we closed our [access points], Haines Point closed there’s as well so there wasn’t a lot of boat access along the lake.”
The lake’s water level has increased more than two feet in the last two weeks, with half of that increase coming over the last two days.
“People were pretty good last year about paying attention because they could see the damage that was done,” said Mayor McKortoff. “We certainly hope that people will do that again this year.”