On Tuesday morning Black Press Media was invited to tour by helicopter some of the places that have flooded in the Williams Lake area.
Departing from behind the Williams Lake Stockyards with pilot Wayne Peterson of Peterson Contracting, we flew over the industrial area, past Scout Island, headed east over Williams Lake past Sugar Cane, above 150 Mile House and then touched down at Peterson’s Onward Gravel Pit.
It is there that new materials are being made to help with bridge and road repair as well as to help mitigate ongoing erosion of creeks and river banks throughout the region, including the Williams Lake river valley.
From the gravel pit we flew back into Williams Lake where we could see several homes on either side impacted by the high level of the lake.
Peterson pointed out where the aggregate is being brought from the Onward pit to a staging area at Tolko Industries in the log yard behind Lakeview that is then hauled to the river valley along a road leading from the log yard high above the south side of the valley.
Crews are also working to repair that upper road.
Flying over the river valley is sobering. We went all the way to the Fraser River and back again.
It is something to see how much damage has incurred.
So much of the area has become a flood plane and you can witness erosion by the minute.
Bridges are gone, parts of the road in the valley are gone, pipes are severed and the sewer outflow pipe is exposed but intact.
Peterson’s father, Earl Peterson, built the original Frizzi Road into the valley in the 60s. He owned land on top of Moore Mountain, of which Peterson still owns 40 acres today.
Wayne remembers a big flood in 1965 that was similar to what we are seeing now.
“On Friday we were eight inches away from that so that means in the last 50 years we’ve had two one-in-two hundred year floods,” Peterson said.