Salmon Arm  

Evacuation Alert for Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park has been rescinded again

Evacuation Alert lifted

A mobile home park in the Shuswap area has once again been given the all clear from officials.

The evacuation alert that was put in place June 13 for the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park, has been rescinded effective immediately.

The alert was issued by the District of Sicamous through the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) “due to the potential danger to life, health and property caused by the threat of a landslide” in the Wiseman Creek area because of recent rains.

SEP officials said due to the the ongoing landslide risk in this area, residents are advised to stay informed.

This was the third evacuation alert issued for the mobile home park since May.

Officials were concerned rains could create mudslides and debris fields coming down the mountain behind the property, which was scorched by wildfire last year.

Studies by the geotechnical engineering firm BGC Engineering and presented to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District last March concluded the chance of a landslide taking place in the area sometime over the next two years is close to 100 per cent.


Swollen Shuswap Lake expected to peak in coming days

Shuswap Lake on the rise

Shuswap Lake is expected to keep rising for the next few days at least.

Officials with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District said the peak is expected to take place this coming weekend or early next week.

Forecast data from two types of provincial modelling systems is suggesting Saturday or Sunday may see the highest water levels for the year in the Shuswap.

However, the forecasts carry a degree of uncertainty as they can be impacted by several factors including temperature, rainfall and snow-melt rates.

“These predictions are looking at some high numbers with localized flooding already taking place in a few areas of the Shuswap. There has been the need to close a few parks, for example. But the projections stop short of the severe flooding levels seen in 2012,” said Derek Sutherland, director of the Shuswap’s Emergency Operations Centre, which is currently activated for the flood watch.

A predicted peak of 349.1 metres is comparable to 2018 water levels, when Shuswap Lake peaked at 349.141 metres.

The SEP continues to urge residents of flood-prone areas to take action to protect their property. This includes sandbagging and moving valuables away from harm.

The SEP remains active and has preparations in place should lake levels rise higher than predicted, particularly in Sicamous where flooding of downtown areas takes place when the lake reaches the 349.2 metre mark.

Additional sandbags, large-scale gabion baskets and a specialized Aqua Dam are available for deployment if needed.

Citizens are asked to use extreme caution around both lakes and fast-flowing creeks and rivers. The water is cold and currents are strong.

Boaters also need to be aware there can be debris hidden under the lake’s surface.

Boaters are also asked to be respectful to those on shore by traveling slowly as wave action from boat wakes can have a dramatic impact on flooded areas of shoreline, causing erosion and damage.

Officials are keeping a close eye on Shuswap waterways

Flood watch ongoing

Shuswap officials continue to keep a close eye on area waterways.

The BC River Forecast Centre is maintaining its flood watch for the Shuswap region.

Environment Canada is calling for a 60 per cent chance of rain today through Thursday, followed by sunny skies and temperatures into the low 30s.

“If widespread heavy rainfall takes place, rivers will likely reach the highest levels of the season and significant flooding is possible,” said a statement on the Shuswap Emergency Program Facebook page Monday.

High volumes of water flowing into the South Thompson River system create a domino effect in the region’s watershed which will contribute to higher water levels in Shuswap Lake.

The SEP is urging residents in low-lying, or flood-prone areas, to take immediate steps to protect property. Sand and sandbagging stations have been set up at 22 locations around the Shuswap.

High water has also forced the temporary closure of Sandy Beach, 2475 Blind Bay Rd.


Blind Bay man and volunteers are ready, willing and able to help Ukrainian refugees

Ready, willing and able

Jean-Luc Desgroseilliers is ready, willing and able to help any Ukrainian refugee in need.

The Blind Bay man has lined up host families and remains in ongoing contact with government and aid agencies to ensure everything needed is in place.

He has also launched a GoFundMe to help cover expenses.

All he needs now are refugees.

Desgroseilliers, who also runs the Shuswap Dojo karate school, said to date, no refugees have come to the Blind Bay area.

“We are trying to help,” he said Friday. “I have two host families that are prepared to provide free accommodations. They have gone through a criminal record check.”

The host families have also gone through an accommodation profile with the United Way with information on the accommodations that are being offered.

“My understanding is, when Ukrainians come over here they decide where they want to go based on what's available and most of them probably want to go to bigger cities like Vancouver,” he said. “But I don't think there are too many places there where people are offering free accommodations.”

Desgroseilliers said refugees may be put off by the small size of Blind Bay and have no idea what the area is like.

However, when a match is made, Desgroseilliers said officials visit the home to make sure it is acceptable.

Desgroseilliers will also offer free karate lessons to any refugees in the area who want to train in martial art.

If someone does need assistance, they can call him at 250-833-2911.

Mastermind in love-triangle murder has day parole extended

Killer has parole extended

The mastermind in a 2008 love-triangle murder in Salmon Arm has had her day parole extended despite missing curfew at her half-way house and returning home smelling like liquor.

Now 30, Monica Sikorski was 17 when she plotted the shooting death of a 22-year-old man she was dating.

Tyler Myers was murdered outside Bastion elementary on Nov. 21, 2008. Court heard Sikorski arranged for her other boyfriend, a 16-year-old classmate, to obtain a gun and ambush Myers.

Sikorski lured Myers to the schoolyard, inviting him to meet her there. She then took him to an area near a stand of trees where she knew the young gunman was hiding with a rifle he’d borrowed from a friend.

The teen shot Myers once from the trees and then emerged and fired twice more, including a shot in the back of Myers’ head at the urging of Sikorski.

The teenaged gunman cannot be named because he was sentenced as a youth. Sikorski can be named because she was sentenced as an adult, despite being 17 at the time of Myers’ slaying.

During the gunman’s trial in B.C. Supreme Court, Sikorski was painted as manipulative and controlling. The couple split up a short time after the murder and Sikorski began dating Myers’ friend.

Sikorski and the gunman were not arrested until 2012, at the conclusion of an elaborate RCMP Mr. Big operation.

The undercover probe targeted Sikorski. Officers posed as high-ranking gangsters and convinced her she was being recruited into their powerful criminal organization.

She confessed to Myers’ murder to an undercover Mountie she believed to be one of the fictitious gang’s leaders. She also implicated the gunman and briefly introduced him to the undercover investigators.

Sikorski pleaded guilty in 2016 to one count of second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She was released on day parole last November after being labelled a low risk for future violence.

According to parole documents, Sikorski had one slip up after her release from prison, missing curfew one night after consuming alcohol while out for dinner with a friend. She was told the smell of liquor on her breath could be problematic for other half-way house residents.

As a result, the Parole Board of Canada has added a no-alcohol condition to Sikorski’s release order and extended her day parole for a further six months.

Sikorski is described as an otherwise “polite” and “compliant” offender in PBC documents. Her parole status will be reviewed again in six months.

Shuswap Lake is getting close to flood level, officials keeping a close eye on things

Shuswap Lake keeps rising

Shuswap Lake continues to rise.

The lake level has now surpassed 348.5 metres above sea level, and flooding issues may be on the horizon.

A statement on the Shuswap Emergency Program Facebook page says: “flooding issues in the Shuswap increase substantially after passing the 349-metre mark, so the Shuswap Emergency Program is monitoring the situation closely this weekend.”

The SEP has activated its Emergency Operations Centre to assist with flood preparations in the Shuswap, as both river and lake levels are increasing.

The SEP will be posting a daily Shuswap Lake level update during the flood-watch period.

According to the SEP website, the potential for significant rainfall in the Shuswap over the next week is causing continued concern for flooding in the region.

“The unstable weather patterns are making it more difficult for forecasters to predict when peak levels for lakes and rivers will be reached. While initial predictions indicated Shuswap Lake may peak this week or early next week, the BC Rivers Forecast Centre is now indicating the risk of flooding may persist, possibly into July,” the statement said.

The melting of high-level snowpacks continues to be delayed, which is also contributing to the potential for high-water levels in Shuswap-area watersheds, as well as in the Thompson and Okanagan.

The Shuswap Emergency Program’s Emergency Operations Centre will remain activated over the weekend to manage the local flooding situation.

Officials will be on Shuswap Lake tagging buoys that do not meet regulations

Looking for bad buoys

Officials in the Shuswap will be targeting bad buoys starting Monday.

In an ongoing effort to clean up the spread of non-compliant buoys, Transport Canada will be on Shuswap Lake during the week of June 20 to tag those in violation of Transport Canada regulations.

The buoys may also be out of compliance with Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) regulations.

Tagging notifies the owners of any issues with the buoy and gives them an opportunity to ensure it is brought into line with the regulations.

If left unchanged, tagged buoys may be removed by Transport Canada officials when they return later in the year.

Buoys can be removed if they are not following the regulations regarding the correct size, colour and identification. This can be hazardous for boaters or other users of the lake.

Buoys must also be affixed properly so they are anchored in place with appropriate materials.

For more information on Transport Canada buoy regulations, click here.

The CSRD has additional information online for waterfront property owners regarding docks and buoys.

Shuswap Lake up another 9 cm, expected to peak in coming days

Flood concerns continue

UPDATE 4:18 p.m.

The potential for significant rainfall in the Shuswap over the next week is causing continued concern for flooding in the region.

The unstable weather patterns are making it more difficult for forecasters to predict when peak levels for lakes and rivers will be reached. While initial predictions indicated Shuswap Lake may peak this week or early next week, the BC Rivers Forecast Centre is now indicating the risk of flooding may persist, possibly into July.

The melting of high-level snowpacks continued to be delayed, which is also contributing to the potential for very high-water levels in Shuswap-area watersheds, as well as in the Thompson and Okanagan.

The Shuswap Emergency Program’s Emergency Operations Centre will remain activated over the weekend to manage the local flooding situation.

Much of the Shuswap remains on flood watch status, including the Seymour River, Eagle River, Adams River, Shuswap River and surrounding tributaries. The level of the Salmon River is increasing, but it has not been included in the flood watch at this time.

The unstable weather is continuing to pose a risk for debris flows, particularly in the Wiseman Creek area of the District of Sicamous. Due to these unsettled weather patterns, the Shuswap Emergency Program (SEP) will be leaving the evacuation alert in place for the 27 residences in the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park until further notice.

Concern over possible debris flows prompted the Shuswap Emergency Program to bring in geotechnical engineers to assess the upper levels of Hummingbird Creek, Sicamous Creek and Wiseman Creek. Engineers looked at Hummingbird Creek on Wednesday, and do not believe there is an immediate concern in that watershed. The geotechnical engineers continued to work on assessing the remaining creeks on Friday, June 17.

Crews from the BC Wildfire Service were brought in this week to assist with sandbagging efforts of critical infrastructure in the City of Salmon Arm around the water treatment plant in Canoe, as well as around pump and lift stations in the District of Sicamous. Initial flood preparation work has now been completed. BC Wildfire and local public works crews are on standby to assist again should conditions worsen.

Sand and sandbags will continue to be made available to private landowners looking to protect their property. Residents are reminded that to be most effective, sandbags should be placed on high ground, as close as possible to homes or buildings.

If residents notice supplies of sand or sandbags are getting low at any of the 22 locations in the Shuswap, they are urged to call 250-833-3352 so supplies can be replenished as quickly as possible.

ORIGINAL 12:23 p.m.

Shuswap Lake is up almost 10 centimetres since Thursday.

The Shuswap Emergency Program's daily lake level update shows the lake at 348.43 metres as of 7:45 a.m.

That's a nine-centimetre increase from Thursday's reading, which had the lake at 348.34 metres.

Shuswap Lake's worst flood year was in 1972, when the water peaked at 349.660 metres.

"As lake and river levels continue a steady climb upward, the Shuswap Emergency Program is reminding people to monitor the situation and to be safe around the water," the SEP says.

Projections estimate the lake will peak this weekend and into next week.

"If you are in flood-prone areas, now is the time to get prepared. Sand and sandbag stations are open in 22 sites around the Shuswap.

"Please stay away from fast-flowing water and always supervise children and pets. The water is cold and can have hidden debris hazards for boaters. Use extreme caution.

"While the forecast looks a bit too rainy for most boaters, those on the water need to be mindful of keeping boat wakes low. Wakes can cause significant damage in flood-prone areas."

Salmon Arm has cheapest fuel in British Columbia

Gas for under two bucks?

Gas for under two bucks?

While that might seem like a dream of motoring days sadly gone by, it appears it is a reality in the Shuswap.

A quick survey of B.C. markets on gas price watchdog site gasbuddy.com shows the cheapest fuel in the province in Salmon Arm, where Super Save has regular fuel for the seemingly "bargain" price 197.9 cents a litre.

Not so long ago, drivers would have shuddered at the thought, but now it's something to get excited about as gasoline prices linger in record territory.

Trail and Castlegar stations are pumping for 205.9, while the cheapest gas in the Okanagan is in Vernon at 207.9 cents a litre.

Kelowna stations currently range from 212.9 to 216.9 cents a litre – and don't forget to add more if your vehicle requires mid-grade or premium fuel.

Kamloops prices range from a low of 209.9 to 217.9.

In Penticton, drivers are paying anywhere from 214.9 to 218.9 cents a litre.

Metro Vancouver motorists are coughing up 224.9 cents a litre at most stations, with some as high as 227.9.

Salmon Arm RCMP nab suspect, thanks to tips from the public

Runs, but can't hide

The RCMP's Emergency Response Team was called to the Shuswap to help arrest a wanted man this week.

On Wednesday, Salmon Arm RCMP and the Southeast District ERT converged on a residential address in Eagle Bay.

Police had learned the previous day that a man wanted on a Canada-wide warrant was possibly at the residence.

A thorough investigation was completed, but the suspect fled the home prior to police arriving.

“Salmon Arm RCMP and partners searched for the suspect for several hours, until a tip from the public was received and he was located,” says Staff Sgt. Scott West. “The man was located just after midnight in the Sunnybrae Canoe Point Road area without incident.”

Salmon Arm RCMP thank the public for their patience and numerous tips received that led to the man's capture.

The suspect remains in custody awaiting a future court date.

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