Salmon Arm  

Shuswap Lake not expected to flood, peak anticipated next week

Lake not expected to flood

Shuswap Lake levels are not expected to cause widespread flooding.

"While the Shuswap remains on flood-watch status for potential minor flooding issues due to high river and lake levels, the Shuswap Emergency Program is not anticipating any structures to be threatened this season by widespread flooding of Shuswap Lake," the Columbia Shuswap Regional District said in a press release Friday.

With snowpacks dwindling, most of the major rivers in the region are seeing water levels decline or hold steady, the CSRD says.

"Shuswap Lake has experienced a steep rise in water levels over the past few weeks, due to higher-than-average temperatures increasing the rate of snow melt."

The lake is currently sitting at 348.403 metres above sea level.

"This remains below the mark that would trigger the installation of some infrastructure protection measures for flood-prone areas," the CSRD says.

"While water levels may increase slightly, it is expected that the lake level may peak next week and begin to slowly decline."

Last year, the lake didn't reach its high-water mark until early July.

The Shuswap Emergency Program is not anticipating any significant issues with river systems unless an unforeseen rainstorm brings heavy precipitation.

The current forecast calls for warmer and drier conditions, and May is trending to be the warmest and driest on record in the Shuswap.

Meanwhile, rivers and creeks continue to flow at high rates, and caution is urged around them.

Water flow rates can easily overwhelm even strong swimmers, the CSRD warns.

Boat operators are reminded increased debris in lakes due to spring runoff.


Shuswap man arrested on the couch twice in a month

An unwelcome guest

An unwelcome guest is facing charges after a pair of incidents in the Shuswap.

Police say they were called at 12:12 a.m on May 8 for a report of a break-and-enter at home in Celista, B.C.

“The caller reported a male had forced entry into the house and was lying on the couch. Police attended and arrested the male, still lying on the couch,” said the Chase RCMP in a news release.

Christopher Christensen was arrested and released on bail with charges of break and enter with intent and breach of undertaking. He was ordered to stay away from the property.

Then on May 23 at 6:30 a.m., Chase RCMP were again called to a home in Celista.

“The caller reported that a male was sleeping on the couch at a residence where he was unwelcome,” police said.

Christopher Christensen was arrested, and again released on bail, with new charges of mischief and breach of release order.

CSRD residents to vote in referendum on Shuswap Watershed Council funding

Water council referendum

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is recommending a referendum on continuation of a parcel tax to fund the Shuswap Watershed Council on a permanent basis.

Directors voted unanimously this month in favour of taking the issue to a full assent vote for all eligible voters in Electoral Areas C, D, E, F, and G and the District of Sicamous.

The vote and associated bylaws need approval from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs before proceeding.

The watershed council is a non-profit group focused on protecting, maintaining and enhancing water quality and promoting safe recreation in the Shuswap.

Members represent the CSRD, Thompson Nicola Regional District, Regional District of North Okanagan, City of Salmon Arm, District of Sicamous, and the Secwépemc Nation.

The Fraser Basin Council, a provincial non-government organization, is contracted to provide staff services to the Shuswap Watershed Council until March 2024.

Currently, the council is funded through a parcel tax of $9.02 per property.

The new maximum rate is estimated to be $9.64 per year.

Salmon Arm and other participants have different methods for paying into the watershed council service.

The referendum is projected to cost $75,000, but directors preferred a vote to the alternative approval process, which would cost just $2,500, calling it "a solid investment in the democratic process."

"Let the taxpayers decide," said Electoral Area C director Marty Gibbons.

Approval from the province will likely take six to eight weeks.


Shuswap rail trail closed as rock scaling work poses danger

Rock scaling on rail trail

A rock scaling project got underway Wednesday on the Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District reminds the public that the trail remains closed as construction continues.

The work is creating additional, significant hazards along the trail, the CSRD says.

The rock scaling is expected to be complete near the end of June.

"As construction season gets underway, please remember that the entire rail trail corridor from Sicamous to Armstrong remains closed to public use," the CSRD says.

"Please stay off the trail for your safety and that of the work crews."

More heavy rain expected in Shuswap, North Thompson

More rain on the way

More rain is in the forecast of the Shuswap and regions north.

Environment Canada has extended a special weather statement for the Shuswap, North Thompson, Cariboo and Prince George.

Up to 15 mm of rainfall is expected now through tonight with highest amounts near the mountains, particularly east-facing slopes.

The heavy rain could bring a risk of flooding and debris flow, Environment Canada said.

“A slow-moving low pressure system over central Alberta is spreading rain into British Columbia. Rain, at times heavy, will continue through tonight,” said the weather agency.

Highway 1 east of Sicamous clear after earlier vehicle incident

Hwy. 1 clear after crash

UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 1 east of Sicamous has been cleared after an earlier crash.

ORIGINAL: 4:23 p.m.

The Trans-Canada Highway east of Sicamous is down to single lane alternating traffic after a crash on Saturday afternoon.

DriveBC said emergency crews are on scene at the vehicle incident. The crash is located on Highway 1 between Cambie-Solsqua Road and Myllinemi Road, about seven kilometres outside of Sicamous.

Drivers are warned to expect delays in both directions.

Crews fighting small wildfire burning near shore of Shuswap Lake

Small wildfire in Shuswap

UPDATE: 10:27 a.m.

BC Wildfire Service crews say the blaze burning near Shuswap Lake is less than a hectare in size.

Information officer Melanie Bideau said a crew is on site on Friday morning.


BC Wildfire Service crews are headed to a new blaze burning near Shuswap Lake.

The fire, in the Aline Hill area near Cinnemosun Narrows, was discovered on Thursday night.

According to the BCWS website, the fire is currently out of control.

The size of the fire is yet to be determined, but BCWS told Castanet a crew is responding on Friday morning.

More information should be available once the crew reaches the fire.

RCMP celebrate 150 years with Musical Ride in Salmon Arm on Canada Day

Red serge celebration

The RCMP's famed Musical Ride is coming to the Shuswap this Canada Day.

Three performances are planned over the long weekend in Salmon Arm.

The first is Saturday July 1 at 1 p.m., with additional rides Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds.

As many as 1,500 spectators are expected for each performance, with limited tickets available at the gate.

The event is being hosted by the Rotary Club of Salmon Arm and the Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake Agriculture Association, in co-operation with the City of Salmon Arm.

“We feel honoured that Salmon Arm has been chosen to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the RCMP,” says Salmon Arm Rotary Club president Garry Hoffart.

Tickets are available online and, starting Friday, can be picked up in person at Shuswap Tickets and Gifts at Piccadilly Mall. Prices range from $10 to $20.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is celebrating 150 years of service this year.

Shuswap Lake expected to peak early as river levels stabilize

Shuswap Lake rising fast

River levels are holding in the Shuswap as Shuswap Lake sees a rapid rise.

Water levels in Salmon River are dropping and are forecast to decline further in coming days, shifting attention toward the potential for flooding in Shuswap Lake, the Shuswap Emergency Program says.

"Some high-water issues remain for properties surrounding the Salmon River due to high temperatures increasing the rate of snow melt from higher elevations," the SEP said Tuesday afternoon.

Officials aren't anticipating any significant issues in larger rivers unless an unforeseen rainstorm brings heavy precipitation into the area.

"Localized rainstorms always have the potential to affect smaller water systems, especially in areas with steep slopes," the SEP says.

The level of Shuswap Lake is increasing rapidly as hot weather accelerates snow melt and runoff.

Water levels across the region are being closely watched, as there may be potential for the lowest-lying properties to see some flooding in coming weeks.

The hot weather may see Shuswap Lake peak earlier than usual, possibly by the end of May or early June. Last year, the lake peaked quite late, with the high-water mark not being reached until early July.

Caution is urged around creeks and rivers, and boat operators are reminded that runoff increases debris in lakes.

Kayaker in distress in Chase Creek found dead on Monday

Kayaker found dead

A kayaker was found dead after being reported missing Sunday evening in the Shuswap.

Chase RCMP received multiple reports of a kayaker in distress on Chase Creek.

Witnesses said a man was clinging to an overturned kayak being swept toward the South Thompson River.

Shuswap Search and Rescue conducted “an extensive search” Sunday evening and resumed Monday morning with help from Kamloops Search and Rescue.

The man was found deceased on Monday, around noon.

His identity has been confirmed and family members notified of the death.

“Chase RCMP would like to express their condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy,” police said in a press release.

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