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April 27, 2018, 9:41 am

West Kelowna Receives Exceptional Performance in Adversity Award

City of West Kelowna

WEST KELOWNA - The City of West Kelowna is pleased to announce that it will receive the 2018 American Public Works Association Exceptional Performance in Adversity Award for its 2017 Freshet Response.

The City’s multi-departmental response to the flash flooding experienced in the spring and the inundation flooding experienced in the summer of 2017 earned this recognition from the association. The City’s flood response team included 27 City Parks staff, including 15 summer students, 23 Public Works staff, including three students, and 32 West Kelowna Fire Rescue personnel. Working continuously for 100 days, the team faced unprecedented challenges as flash flooding caused bridge and road closures and threatened other public infrastructure and private property, followed by historically high Okanagan Lake levels that damaged property all along the City’s waterfront.

“On behalf of Council, I am so pleased to see the City of West Kelowna and its staff are being recognised for the outstanding efforts displayed during last year’s flooding,” says Mayor Doug Findlater. “I have seen our crews do tremendous things on a day to day basis, but I have never witnessed such perseverance, dedication and grit as I did last year. Even weeks into the relentless event, when I visited impacted areas, I would see our staff, no doubt tired and stressed, but continuing to work as hard as they did on day one, literally doing everything they could to keep the waters at bay. It was humbling and heartwarming and I am very proud of all involved.”

The City was nominated for the award by the Public Works Association of BC, which highlighted the strong partnership exhibited by the multi-jurisdictional team.

“It is no exaggeration to describe these efforts, dedication and hard work as unlike anything else that has been see in BC in recent history. Without doubt, the actions of your team averted significant destruction, loss and damage and earned the heartfelt gratitude of your community,” said Matthew Brown, President, Public Works Association of BC.

The City’s response team was supported by an active Emergency Operations Centre, BC Wildfire Service personnel and many contractors and consultants.

“It was all hands on deck for approximately 16 weeks and none of us had ever experienced anything like it before,” says Chris Anderson, Public Works Manager, City of West Kelowna. “Looking back it was the biggest natural emergency we have ever dealt with in our community; but what was borne out of that time of incredible adversity is a heightened sense of cooperation and comradery amongst our team that I know will serve West Kelowna well as we face new challenges in the future.”

The City will receive the award at the American Public Works Association Expo on August 27, 2018.

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