Water levels remain high

Warm temperatures raise concerns in Boundary region

High river levels in the Boundary region may have pushed the district’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) into swing but locally waterways are flowing quite smoothly.

EOC officials turned the tap on late last week when the B.C. River Forecast Centre issued a High Streamflow Advisory for a number of watersheds in the Kootenay and Boundary regions.

Deputy Regional Fire Chief Dan Derby, who also acts as regional emergency program coordinator, was actively involved in protocols that stretched not too far from home.

“It’s really been a Boundary issue more than on the Trail side,” he said Tuesday.

“Level 1, where we sit now, enables me to have our team ready to go if we had to go to Level 2 and also to get the support of the province if we needed to help our community as well.”

The high advisory is now off for the West Kettle and Kettle rivers and Granby looks to be reevaluated today.

Precaution was taken when record temperatures were paired with rising stream levels.

The West Kettle shot up to 2.3 metres May 9-11 while the Kettle River (near Westbridge) peaked at about 3 m on May 12, the same day Granby reached 3.35 m.

But cooler weather has set it, with highs staying in the teens this week.

“Really for the most part it was an inconvenience of high waters for some individuals who lived along those rivers but it was a good exercise for us to get everyone thinking about emergency plan and what we can do to support the community when required,” he added.

“There were a few requests for sand bags last week for some people who have ongoing issues in regards to seepage and high river flows but nothing like we’ve received in the past.”

Spring runoff is closely watched this time of year, not only from the regional perspective but also by the city.

Larry Abenante, Trail public works manager, refers to a 21-point check list and performs daily inspections of the Trail, Gorge and McQuarrie creeks.

“Everything around here is in excellent condition and it’s to a point where we actually sent the excavators home,” he said.

The EOC is located in the lower level of the Greater Trail Community Centre and features full inter-connectivity for fire, police, ambulance and public works; four stations with full radio capabilities for all jurisdictions in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary; a backup generator and a meeting room for decision makers.