The City of Salmon Arm closed Canoe Beach due to high water on Monday, May 28. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

High water closes parks, boat launches

Shuswap Lake access restricted in some areas from Eagle Bay to Swansea Point

Barring heavy rains, the level of Shuswap Lake could peak this week and then begin receding. However, the lake level is currently high enough to close several boat launches and public beaches around the Shuswap.

The Harbour Road Boat Launch located at 1955 Eagle Bay Rd. in Sicamous is closed until further notice.

The Kappel Street Boat Launch into the Sicamous channel, and the Windsor Road boat launch in Swansea Point are also closed.

The Oxford Road lake access in Swansea Point has also been closed by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.

The CSRD operates two additional boat launch sites within the Sorrento/Blind Bay area, the Markwart Road Boat Launch in Sorrento and the Whitehead Road Boat Launch in Eagle Bay. Both of those remain open at this time for use by the public.

The boat launches in Salmon Arm remain open at this time, although City of Salmon Arm staff say the launches in Canoe and at Marine Park are being monitored daily and could close without much advance notice. This also goes for other launches in the Sicamous area, which also could be closed due to high water levels.

Pebble Beach and Sandy Beach parks in Blind Bay and Shannon Beach in Eagle Bay have also been closed to the public.

The City of Salmon Arm made the decision to close Canoe Beach Park on May 28, after water could be seen at the tunnel beach access under the train tracks.

“Due to the high water levels and to ensure public safety, effective today, the city has made the decision to close Canoe Beach,” writes city director of engineering and public works Rob Niewenhuizen.

“However, on a positive note, it appears that all of the major river flows into Shuswap Lake have reached a peak and are starting to drop, so hopefully the lake levels will peak soon and we will be able to start the clean-up process.”

Related: Salmon River upgraded to flood warning

Forecasts indicate the lake water will begin to recede later this week.

David Campbell, head of the BC River Forecast Centre, said favourable weather has mediated river flooding concerns across most of B.C. while increased rates of snow melt have bumped up the usual mid-June peak river period.

“We are seeing the accelerated snowpack melt continue in recent days from 40 to 100 per cent at the higher elevations,” said Campbell.

“We are several weeks ahead of the normal flood season river peak levels due to the extreme hot temperatures over the last month.”

Campbell said Shuswap Lake is expected to peak later this week, as is the South Thompson River that it drains into.

Related: 2017 – Lake level similar to flood years

Although provincial forecasters are predicting Shuswap Lake could reach its peak level later this week, the CSRD is still urging caution for those with property close to the lake.

Derek Sutherland, the CSRD’s team leader with protective services, says he would like property owners to remain vigilant and not remove flood protection measures for at least a week.

He says it’s still too soon to tell if Shuswap Lake has peaked.

“It’s certainly slowing down. Our modelling is showing that the lake is peaking and may drop here soon. But it’s still very early… “

He says the lake has been known to level off and then surge another one or two times before reaching its highest level.

Related: In photos – back to flooding in the Shuswap

Municipal governments are warning boaters still planning to head out on the water to take additional care. Boaters are being asked to reduce speed to 10 km/h within 30 metres (100 feet) of the shore line to avoid creating wakes. They can cause erosion and damage to the shoreline and properties which are in danger of flooding. Boaters are also asked to use extreme caution because debris, some of which may be below the water’s surface and not visible to boat operators, can damage boats and cause injuries.

With files from Tracy Hughes, Martha Wickett and Barry Gerding


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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