Kathy Moleschi works on the sandbag wall which the Larch Hills Ski Team and students from Deer Lake school helped build, on Friday, June 2. -image credit: Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer

Youth help property owners battle flooding

The owners of a lakeshore property between Canoe and Sicamous threatened by rising lake levels received help from two groups of youth to protect their house with sandbags.

Kathy Moleschi and her partner Paul Skinner have watched the lake waters near their house climb over the past weeks and have been slowly constructing a wall of sandbags.

They have been assisted on three occasions over the past few weeks by members of the Larch Hills cross-country ski team.

The ski team uses spring and fall yard work in exchange for donations as a way to fundraise for travelling to national competitions and other costs.

Moleschi described the Larch Hills skiers as amazing, enthusiastic workers and praised their strength and fitness.

Abbi May, the coach of the ski team, said team members had filled sandbags from five truckloads of sand already, and planned to return to help Moleschi and Skinner again this week as the water continues to rise.

Along with the Larch Hills race team members, students from Deer Lake School, a Seventh-Day Adventist school in Burnaby, pitched in to help fill and stack sandbags on Friday, June 2.

The Deer Lake students are currently on the school’s annual band and gymnastics tour, which Byron Emmons, the school’s band teacher, says is an important opportunity for the students to perform acts of community service.

“One of our biggest desires is for our children to learn to be unselfish,” Emmons said.

Moleschi said the help from the Deer Lake students was unexpected but is greatly appreciated.

“The help from the students is amazing. Out of the blue I was talking with the CSRD and they mentioned something about a group coming up from Burnaby, and I said, ‘yes, please.’ It’s nice for us to know the kids; I think it’s a great experience for everybody,” she said.

The students from Deer Lake School mostly focused on enforcing the sandbag wall against wind and boat wake to stop it from falling over and being washed away.

Emmons said other members of the 66 student contingent from the Dear Lake School helped the Salmon Arm community by clearing trails near Canoe, helping out at the Shuswap Adventist School and assisting a blind man with some of his yard work.

Moleschi said the lake level rose approximately five inches the day before the Deer Lake students arrived to help and has continued to rise since.