By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

A thunderstorm in the Columbia Valley late Monday night left some of Invermere’s downtown venues with a dark reality.

A shroud of dark clouds with a light rainfall quickly turned into loud cracks of thunder and bright white glimpses of lightning around 10 p.m. during the June 29th storm.

Weve had flooding all through town this morning, said Chris Prosser, District of Invermere (DOI) chief administrative officer, on June 30th. We are looking at the drainage aspect of things, talking to the contractor (for the Cenotaph Plaza), see what the as-builts are because there was a specified pipe size that had to be in there and were waiting for those comments to come back.

Joshua Estabrooks, general manager of the Canterbury Inn, reported seeing a river run through the downtown core due to the storm that struck.

My house is in direct view of the new park, said Mr. Estabrooks, adding he went outside to help others where possible. Basically, it was around 10:30 or 11 p.m. whenever the big downpour happened. As always, the water rushes down the street out of the community hall parking lot, down the main street, out of the alley behind The Book Bar.

Water typically builds up and gradually drains near the post office, Mr. Estabrooks continued, but he was surprised to see it get re-routed as a result of the design changes for the new Cenotaph Plaza.

All the water was going across the road, directly into the new parking stalls by the new park and, I think because of a lack of curb after those parking stalls, continued onto the sidewalks, into the new sod, flooding all the gardens. The water was shooting out of the manhole two to three feet . Kind of like a geyser of water. . The covers were blown off and laying on the ground, added Mr. Estabrooks, noting planted flowers were uprooted and washed down the sidewalks and into some storefronts. It looked like a river.

Toby Theatre owner Ron Peters immediately experienced the devastating aftermath of the heavy rains.

He believes the old curb contained previous rainfalls to the street, and expressed a sense of disappointment at how his former business and current home was affected.

Its disheartening now that the street is gone, (the rain) filled our sidewalk just like a river going by, said Mr. Peters. And it got up against our building so water came in through the sides of the foundation and through the front door when I opened it to.

He estimates the water was roughly two feet deep when the water flowed in front of the door and about three inches deep when it flowed inside.

What Ive observed is that theres a big storm sewer that comes down the side of the street there, past the motel, and its probably 16 inches, Im guessing, in size, said Mr.Peters. They put a manhole cover there and theyve brought new storm sewers from that manhole to the one out in front of the building here by 7th Avenue, about nine inches in size, so theyve reduced it down by less than half. You cant feed a 16 inch into a nine inch and expect it to (drain). Thats a no brainer.

DOI director of development services, Rory Hromandnik and mayor Gerry Taft, were unavailable for comments before The Pioneer’s press deadline.