As part of the public safety funding announced in February 2016, the Province is committing $33,000 toward an assessment of the flood risk around Mara Lake shores.
The District of Sicamous, which will fund the remaining balance of the project that is estimated to cost $50,000, plans to examine the hydrology and sediment source around Sicamous Narrows and determine remedies to improve flow from Mara Lake through the narrows.
In recent years Sicamous Narrows, which drains the Mara Lake basin, has been infilling with sediment and debris, causing water levels to elevate in the lake, especially during storms and freshet. Close to 200 properties, including several businesses, are in the unincorporated communities of Mara, Swansea Point and Six Mile Point, and concerns about the flooding risk are increasing.
In February 2016, the B.C. government announced $65 million in initiatives to help keep communities safe, including $15 million for public safety preparedness initiatives and $50 million for community hazard mitigation projects, such as upgrades to dikes and flood protection.
Since 2008, the Province has invested in 156 projects worth $145 million ($62 million has been provided provincially, $46 million federally and $37 million in funding from local authorities).
Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto –
“Our government values the public safety of all British Columbians. Anything we can do to identify risk and prepare for risk is a step in the right direction. That’s why our government is investing in flood mitigation projects around the province. We are happy to work collaboratively with communities to help limit risk our citizens could be exposed to in the unfortunate event a disaster strikes.”
Greg Kyllo, MLA for Shuswap –
“The Shuswap Lake system provides world-class boating, houseboating and quality-of-life benefits to Sicamous and surrounding communities. However, storms and spring run-off can have undesirable and financially challenging impacts to the local economy, as well as pose significant safety risks. By working collaboratively with the District of Sicamous, our provincial government is taking proactive steps to keep communities and people safe, and helping to secure a strong and secure economy for the Shuswap.”
Mayor of the District of Sicamous, Terry Rysz –
“This partnership with the Province allows us to assess the flood risk in our community in an effort to improve public safety. Thanks to Emergency Management BC’s substantial investment in this project, we are able to take important steps to help protect our community members. I am very thankful for the Province’s support of Sicamous.”
- Tourism related to activities on the Sicamous Narrows, Mara and Shuswap lakes are a significant economic driver for the area.
- The Sicamous Narrows is an important fish passage, connecting the Thompson and Shuswap systems.
- In both 2012 and 2013, increased water levels resulted in about 20 homes and businesses being evacuated.
BC Government flood prevention and planning: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/emergency-management-bc/flood-protection-and-planning