Residents living outside the dyke system in the District of Kent have been notified of potential impact from the rising Fraser River.
Water levels are expected to fluctuate throughout the weekend, following heavy rains in the headwater regions earlier in the week. The levels are expected to exceed the levels seen in 2007, and be comparable to levels reached in 1972.
District officials went door to door on Tuesday night to inform property owners outside of the dyke system of the potential risks. Many of those properties are not residential. On Wednesday morning, they issued a press release saying homes inside the dyke system could also be affected.
“Impacts to properties located inside the District’s dyke system are expected to be limited to additional seepage,” the District wrote.
They began daily dyke patrols earlier this week, and will continue to monitor the river levels over the next two weeks.
Kilby Park is now closed due to the high water, including the boat launch, day use area, and the campground. Due to the fast flowing water and to ensure personal safety, the District is asking the public to avoid any recreational areas on the riverside and on the dikes.
As Kent-Harrison’s Emergency Program Coordinator, Roger Poulton is constantly monitoring the river. He follows several useful websites and monitoring systems that measure things like temperature, snow pack and river flows around the province.
He also stresses that everyone should always have an emergency plan, and kit, ready to be used.
If you do not already have an emergency plan in place for your household, now is an excellent time to create one.
More information on emergency planning can be found at www.pep.bc.ca.
In Hope, Fire Chief Tom DeSorcy said on Wednesday they were working on issuing evacuation alerts in neighbourhoods around that area as well.
“Our plan at this hour is to issue an evacuation alert,” he said. “This is being treated very seriously. We’re expecting high water that we probably haven’t seen for 40 years.”
A reception area was being set up, and the Hope Emergency Operations Centre was activated on Tuesday, in council chambers. If the alert is upgraded to an evacuation, residents will be provided with all the information they need to protect their home and get to safety at that time.
Residents of Wardle Street watched Wednesday afternoon as the river’s edge crept over the bank, across the road and toward their homes.
The street, which sits at the mouth of where the Coquihalla River runs into the Fraser, was dry at about noon, one passerby said. But by 2 p.m., the farthest end of the road was completely under water, and District of Hope crews were busy setting up fencing to stop traffic flow.
Many of the longtime residents said they weren’t too concerned about the flooding, as they’ve built their homes high above the level of the street. Other residents were busy moving equipment and items to higher ground.
For up-to-date river information, visit us online at www.ahobserver.com.