A log jam on Baker Creek in West Quesnel April 21. (Karen Powell - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

A log jam on Baker Creek in West Quesnel April 21. (Karen Powell - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Year in Review: April

The Observer looks back at April 2020

• In Wells, a new system was implemented to help neighbours check on neighbours while self-isolating and maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The District of Wells supplied each household with an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch square that has a green square with a checkmark stapled together with a red square with an X. In an effort to help all area residents in communicating with one another, the District asked residents to place a green square in a window that is visible from the street if their household is well, has supplies and does not need assistance.

If a household is in need of assistance, residents are asked to change the green square for a red square.

• A new lease agreement will give the B.C. Wildfire Service nearly double the amount of space it has at the Quesnel Regional Airport as it expands its operations and moves towards a more community-based response to wildfires.

The City of Quesnel and provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) entered into a five-year lease for FLNRORD to lease approximately one hectare of land at the Quesnel Regional Airport.

• West Fraser announced it is taking further measures to adjust production in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including four weeks of downtime at the Cariboo Pulp and Paper mill.

• Central Mountain Air (CMA) suspended all passenger flights in and out of Quesnel until June.

• In partnership with the City of Quesnel, Community Futures North Cariboo launched a Business Support Hotline to support North Cariboo business impacted by COVID-19 by providing assistance with navigating the various supports for business being offered by the federal and provincial governments, trade associations, B.C. Hydro, Fortis B.C. and others.

The hotline was made possible with support from the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce, Quesnel Downtown Association, West Quesnel Business Association and the District of Wells.

• With a quick change to warm temperatures increasing the snowmelt rates, spring flooding has been affecting many roads in our region.

On Tuesday, April 21, the B.C. River Forecast Centre maintained a Flood Warning that had been issued the day before for the Nazko River and West Road River and upgraded to a Flood Warning for the Cariboo and Chilcotin (Fraser Plateau), including tributary rivers and streams around Williams Lake, Quesnel, Alexis Creek, Anahim Lake, Cache Creek and surrounding areas.

Water covered the road on Highway 97 in the McLeese Lake area and north of Quesnel in the Dunkley area. As well, a washout between 1500 Road and Mountain Road closed Pedley Lake Road in Hixon on April 21. Nazko Road 10 kilometres north of Nazko was closed April 18 due to flooding.

On April 18, Emcon also dealt with a landslide on Quesnel-Hydraulic Road at the 20-kilometre marker.

Starting Tuesday, April 21 at 10 p.m., the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure closed Quesnel-Hydraulic Road at kilometre 20.3 due to ongoing land instability, during the evenings.

There was also flooding in the Milburn Lake area.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Quick jump in temperature contributes to flooding in Quesnel area

• Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd. (BGM) and Evolution Camp Services came together to bring emergency food bank services to the Wells, Barkerville and Bowron communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea to create and offer the service for the community was spearheaded by Tamara and Bob Bedard, who own Evolution Camp Services, along with the Pooley Street Café, and it was made possible with the help of BGM.

• At the end of April, the City of Quesnel ordered a state of local emergency due to the risk of flooding along the Baker Creek.

On Thursday, April 23, the B.C. River Forecast Centre advised Baker Creek was flowing at approximately 110 cubic metres per second, which is between a 10-year and 20-year flow.

Flooding and erosion along the creek caused a water main to break and damaged a sewer line, and there was a large power outage after trees along the creek’s banks began to fall, bringing power lines down into the creek itself.

• Julie Fowler of Wells was honoured as one of 25 winners of the prestigious B.C. Achievement Community Award.

“The Community Award is the cornerstone of B.C. Achievement’s mission to honour excellence and inspire achievement in the province of B.C.,” according to the B.C. Achievement Foundation’s website. “The award recognizes the contributions of extraordinary British Columbians who build better, stronger, more resilient communities and shine as examples of dedication and service.”

Fowler was recognized for her work and dedication with Island Mountain and ArtsWells. She is the executive and artistic director of both IMA and ArtsWells, serves on the board of ArtsBC and recently started organizing a B.C. Music Festivals Collective.

• The Quesnel Community Foundation gave out $68,500 to 14 groups working in a wide variety of areas, including the arts, sports and environmentalism.

Due to COVID-19, the foundation was not able to gather as a group and present the grants during a formal Grant Awards Night as usual, but the money is still getting into the hands of these well-deserving community organizations.

READ MORE: Quesnel Community Foundation hands out $68,500 in grants


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