Based on the most recent provincial snowpack data, staff say the City of Kamloops is in a much better position than last year, with the South Thompson snowpack at 83 per cent of normal and the North Thompson snowpack at 100 per cent of normal, based on measurements taken on March 1.
“Much better looking picture at this point than what we were seeing last year, but we are never out of the woods here,” City utility services manager Greg Wightman told council on Tuesday. “An extended period of hot weather or a large rain event can change that pretty quickly.”
After flooding in recent years, the city continues to improve its flood plan and Wightman noted it has one of the best in the province.
Wightman said the city uses survey data and a GIS tool to drive decision-making, with some responses including closing boat launches, removing the railing at the Riverside Park pier, sealing off catch basins and installing flood pumps.
New this year, residents can locate the nearest catch basin to their home through a new GIS tool, which can be found online at tinyurl.com/yxzdhxwy.
The city has been encouraging residents to keep catch basins clear through the spring melt. Residents can punch in their address on the app to find catch basins within 100 metres to 500 metres of their homes.
Wightman said this year had “great results.
“We were able to get through the melting of the snow on the streets without any major problems,” he said.
Capital projects on the books later this year include a $250,000 plan in Campbell Creek that will see a third culvert installed across Barnhartvale Road.
But that will not be in place in time to deal with this year’s freshet.
The city will also be working on a $150,000 to $200,000 project in the Noble Creek area north of Westsyde, re-establishing the stream channel — previous freshet seasons pushed the stream to one side of the culvert under Westsyde Road — in addition to work at the base of the bridge.
“This is just preventative,” Wightman said, noting there are no structural or safety concerns with the culvert.
The city has also applied for grant funding to conduct flood mitigation work at Riverside Park. That project also includes beautification and a skating rink, which is proposed to be installed on the existing footprint of the spray park.
More information about flooding can be found online at kamloops.ca/flooding.