Rising Kootenay Lake levels could soon mean parts of Nelson’s waterfront are underwater similar to in 2012, when this picture was taken at Lakeside Park. File photo

Flood threat increases at Nelson’s waterfront

Peak expected between May 30 and June 1

The flood threat continues to increase as lake levels in Nelson could rise another 12 to 18 inches from their current levels, with a peak expected between Wednesday, May 30, and Friday, June 1.

Fire Chief Len MacCharles said Friday, “In 2012, the lake reached the highest level since 1974 at 1753.8 ft (534.58 meters), and it is likely we will see similar lake levels this year.”

“The City has taken a number of proactive steps since 2012 to help minimize the impacts of high water but we will still see some impacts. Our primary goals right now are public safety and protection of property and the environment.”

Warmer seasonal temperatures coupled with natural inflows of a significantly above average snow pack have brought about higher than normal lake levels. Predictions of lake levels provided by FortisBC on May 25th forecast an increase to exceed 1753 feet (534.3 meters) at Queens Bay by the end of May.

MacCharles added, “Things can change quickly, especially if we see a heavy rainfall either in Nelson or in our watersheds over the next few weeks.”

For safety, the City is asking everyone to stay away from the lakeshore and along the banks of creeks until the water recedes.

City staff have observed that the natural wave action is eroding sections of the dog walk. As the water rises more areas that are normally high and dry will be prone to erosion. We are asking that boaters maintain “no wake” speed all along the lake to avoid damaging the unprotected shoreline and personal property.

The Supervisor of Parks and Public Works, Craig Stanley, reports that, “We’re assessing the sports fields at Lakeside Park frequently. We’ve met with the user groups and RDCK recreation management staff, to let them know we could be required to the close fields with minimal notice. If we do close the fields, we would inform the user groups and the community of the closure through email, the City’s website (nelson.ca), and social media. “Plans to reschedule games to other venues have been discussed with the user groups.

“Council would like to reassure residents and businesses that although lake levels are expected to rise in the coming week, we don’t anticipate any disruption to traffic flow down Lakeside Drive”, says Mayor Kozak. She adds “Our small business owners rely on all of us to support them and we encourage residents and visitors to shop at their favourite stores along Lakeside Drive and Hall Street. It is business as usual. “

Guidelines to follow to stay safe:

Stay away from the lake shoreline

Stay away from creek banks

Remove personal property near creeks

Don’t walk or drive through standing or flowing water

Be cautious when boating – there is a lot of debris in water and water remains very cold

Call 911 for all emergencies

Public areas currently or expected to be impacted by predicted lake levels:

Dog walk between Prestige Lakeside Resort and west end of Airport (Currently Closed)

Kootenay Launch Club parking adjacent to Prestige Lakeside Resort

Sports Fields and Pathway near Lakeside Park

Tramway Car Barn / Tramway

John’s Walk pathway

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