British Columbia Campground Flooded
Shadybrook Campground in Windermere, British Columbia, was declared a state of emergency when Windermere Creek burst its banks on June 30, engulfing trailers, patios and anything in its path with icy cold, mud-filled water.
Excess sediment in the river and heavy rainfall are blamed for the current state of the campground, the Columbia Valley Pioneer reported.
“I can’t put a dollar value on the damage costs from this flood because they are so enormous,” said Mike DuBois, owner of Shadybrook Resort. “This has just devastated my businesses.”
The campground was without power, and lost water and sewer services to about 20 sites as floodwaters forced residents to pull their belongings to higher ground during the weekend.
Calgary resident Colin Atkinson arrived to find his trailer site at Shadybrook in decent condition Friday night. Saturday morning held a different story.
“I woke up Saturday and the yard was full of water,” he said. “We have had water on our property before, but never to these levels.”
The Calgarian will likely have to move his belongings again if the floodwaters climb any higher, he said. Atkinson still managed to enjoy his Canada Day long weekend despite the soggy conditions.
“I have been playing around in my backyard with my little remote control boat because I knew it was going to be like this,” he said. “I came prepared to have some fun.”
The issues with Windermere Creek began in the spring of 2011 when the waterway diverted its course about 1 1/2 miles upstream of the Windermere Valley Golf Course. Creek waters entered an area of soil that was easily eroded and then carried excess quantities of sediment and gravel downstream. The muddy hitchhikers raised the riverbed and caused flooding at Shadybrook in August 2011, when a prior state of emergency was declared.
This year the riverbed was raised roughly 9 inches between 5:30 p.m. on June 29 and 7:30 a.m. on June 30, according to a monitoring station set up by DuBois.
“As a business owner, it is extremely frustrating that the government knew the flood was going to occur a year ago and made a conscious decision to do nothing,” he said. “They haven’t committed any resources or funding to fixing the problem. The government would rather just spend the money on emergency repairs.”
DuBois said that he has met with other stakeholders affected by the flooding creek bed and is planning to take action without the assistance of the provincial government, to the tune of $25,000.
“Everybody is on board at this point,” he said. “We are just looking for money to fix the problem, but in my opinion it should be a government-funded repair. This is what I pay taxes for.”
The provincial government does not currently have funding for the project, said Peter Holmes, habitat biologist for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
“We are looking into getting an engineer’s report and assessment for diverting Windermere Creek back into the wetland,” he said. “We haven’t committed funds for it yet. Funds are pretty scarce these days.”