Ellen Wasser and Bruce Machholz lost their home and saw their property devastated by Hamill Creek which burst its banks this year.

2013’s top stories No. 5: High water havoc

For the second straight year, high water in June wreaked havoc in West Kootenay.



For the second straight year, high water in June wreaked havoc in West Kootenay.

Nowhere was it more severe than on Hamill Creek north of Argenta, where Bruce Macholz and Ellen Wasser’s home and outbuildings were swept downstream.

Wasser awoke to running water throughout their property and with neighbour Tracy Remple began rescuing livestock including cattle, goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, and pigs, along with dogs and cats.

“When I got there water was mid-calf,” Remple said. “In a little less than three hours, their house was floating down the creek. The water just kept coming and coming.”

By the end of the rescue mission, the water was at shoulder level. The couple owned their land for 11 years, and Maccholz, a stoemason, filled the yard with his creations. After the flood, it was left strewn with debris and truck-sized boulders.

The couple was only able to salvage a few items.

Meanwhile, the Hamill Creek bridge’s approaches were washed out on both sides. The bridge led to five homes and Glacier Creek regional park, which was closed for a few weeks. One resident was evacuated.

Schroeder Creek resort north of Kaslo suffered heavy damage in two waves of water and about 20 campers were evacuated.

“An avalanche up the mountain plugged the creek,” said manager Randy Phipps. “It came down and plugged the culvert and went straight through the campground.”

One large motorhome sunk into the ground with its nose sticking out, at least one boat sank, and the campground was flooded with gravel.

Elsewhere heavy rains caused slides and washouts, closed roads and bridges and flooded homes.

• Highway 31 was closed at Schroeder Creek and at the Lardeau Bluffs following a mudslide. Highway 31A beween New Denver and Kaslo suffered a series of washouts, as did Highway 3A near Sirdar, and a railway track was undermind at Wynndel.

• Water was found seeping through a rock and gravel berm on Crawford Creek on Kootenay Lake’s East Shore.

• A large slide occurred at Campbell Creek near Kaslo, but cabins in the area were unharmed.

• One home was flooded at Fletcher creek between Woodbury and Kaslo. The Fletcher Creek and Mirror Lake water systems were also affected.

• A dike on Silverton Creek in the Slocan Valley partially failed

• Sandon experienced flooding and bank erosion.

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