Water is roaring under the Baker Creek bridge in West Quesnel this week. Karen Powell photo

City monitoring Baker Creek and rivers closely

Director of emergency services says they are watching for debris and monitoring water levels closely

The City of Quesnel is keeping a close eye on Baker Creek this week, with the water running high and fast.

Director of emergency services Sylvain Gauthier says he and the city’s public works staff are checking on the creek every few hours.

“Baker Creek normally gets to this level in the middle of May, so we are almost two weeks ahead due to high water levels in Baker Creek reservoir,” he says.

Gauthier met with city manager Byron Johnson; Jeff Norburn, who runs the Emergency Support Services; and other city staff this morning to evaluate flood risks, after sitting in on a call with the Provincial Emergency Program in Prince George, the province’s water stewardship division, the River Forecast Centre and Environment Canada.

“As per usual, the City of Quesnel has two areas that flood regularly, which are the Johnston Bridge Loop, which we have closed already due to high water, and also the loop on the west side, on North Fraser Drive. There is still a lot of room before we have to block that road,” says Gauthier.

Both city manager Johnson and Gauthier agree that one of the biggest issues is the debris coming down Baker Creek.

“We are checking Baker Creek every couple of hours so that if there is a log jam, we can bring our contractor in to take care of that. If we get a log jam, it’s amazing how quickly it backs up,” says Gauthier.

“We are monitoring not quite around the clock, but getting close.”

The slightly cooler temperatures are helping keep the creek at a stable level this week, keeping the snow from melting quickly in the mountains. But Environment Canada is predicting warmer weather heading into the weekend, in the mid-20s.

“Higher temperatures will bring more snow melt from the higher elevations, which could create potential risk of flooding,” says Gauthier.

City manager Johnson says they are prepared to put up temporary diking if need be.

“If we need to engage in flood control or diking, we will put up temporary things, which we can source quickly from the province,” he says.

Gauthier says areas that could be vulnerable include Hill Street, off Baker Drive in West Quesnel.

“The west side of Baker Creek I think will be OK, it will just affect the trail, which has already been closed as a safety precaution.

“Depending how high Baker Creek goes, if it goes another foot and a half and we have to put some diking, it might be about five or six residences on Hill Street [that are affected]. We just have to watch the water level. I don’t anticipate it will rise that much, but if something happens upstream, a blockage goes off and there is a surge of water, it will create problems,” explains Gauthier.

Other areas that could be impacted are the mobile home parks on North Fraser Drive, and homes on Rolph Street, along the Fraser River.

Just outside of city boundaries, Cariboo Regional District staff are keeping tabs on water levels in the Quesnel River, with Williams Subdivision one neighbourhood identified as vulnerable to flood waters.

“This is just north of downtown Quesnel, and includes Hazel Road and River Park Road,” says Emily Epp, CRD manager of communications.

“It’s part of the CRD and it is one of the areas we are keeping an eye on with assistance from the City of Quesnel.”

Gauthier says his team are monitoring the water closely, and he will meet again with the city manager and other city staff on Thursday to re-evaluate.

“We make decisions as we go. Currently, there is no need to activate our emergency operations centre,” he says.

The City of Quesnel has set up its Emergency Reception Centre at the Quesnel & District Arts and Recreation Centre, but only to support evacuees from the Nazko Valley.

City of Quesnel officials are urging residents to stay away from the rivers and creeks, keeping at least three-feet from the banks.

“If you get too close, there is the danger of the ground eroding from underneath you,” warns Gauthier.

Just Posted

Tarp structure on Warden Street to be removed

Property owner has 30 days to comply with the city’s request

SD28 reveals new school bus schedule; hits back at City Council

District says Board of Education did not make formal request to alter BC Transit schedule

BC SPCA launches Wildlife-in-Focus Photography Contest

Enter the 10th annual photography contest by September

Arraignment date set for local theft suspect

Earl Edward Roper has been in and out of court for Blackwater Road bust charges since January

One-woman show coming to Wells’ Sunset Theatre

The show will be performed on July 19 and Aug. 23, 2018

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read