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Posted: May 13, 2014

Concerns remain over Joseph Creek flooding

The City of Cranbrook continues to pump water from Elizabeth Lake to alleviate rising water and flood concerns.

ElizLakeExitHowever, solving one problem may lead to another downstream.

City chief administrative officer Wayne Staudt told city council last night (May 12) that flooding is anticipated with Joseph Creek, noting high water levels around the city and the spring melt yet to come.

“We do anticipate some flooding along Joseph Creek,” he told council. “We are very concerned,” he added, noting snowpack is still at 135%.

“We’re continuing to move water,” he said, explaining that water diverted from Elizabeth Lake ends up in Joseph Creek.

“In the short term we will continue to pump,” he said, relating that city staff are meeting with Regional District of East Kootenay staff Wednesday to discuss the situation.

“Our approach right now is pretty sound,” Staudt said. “Those pumps move a lot of water. We are controlling flooding that would be occurring at Wattsville.”

Staudt told council he recently spoke with a resident, who has called Cranbrook home for 38 years, who told him the water level at Elizabeth Lake is “the highest he has ever seen.”

Staudt also noted that he’s hearing the ponds in the Community Forest are also at “an all-time high.”

Mayor Wayne Stetski said the drainage system for Elizabeth Lake, which is fed by JimSmith Lake and Silver Creek, is a complicated one, moving through and under the city, entering Joseph Creek near Victoria Avenue and 8th Street North.

The unusual addition of large volumes of water into the creek at that location may cause flooding downstream.

“We are going to try and figure out a long-term solution, if there is one,” he said.

Staudt concluded his report by pointing out that Elizabeth Lake is also being fed by a number of “very active” springs, according to the same long-time resident.

No houses have yet been flooded, Staudt added, though half of the trails around Elizabeth Lake are under water.

Noting the rising waters began two weeks ago, Coun. Gerry Warner questioned why the city didn’t issue an emergency bulletin/media release about Elizabeth Lake.

“I really wish we had this conversation earlier. Once again, we have not communicated very well with our public and taxpayers,” he said.

Mayor Stetski said residents can call him or city hall to obtain information about any city matter.

“We are very available if anyone has any questions. The worst thing you can do is sit out there and complain. There is some onus on people to find out what is going on,” he said.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW 

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