Kamloops takes precautions with rivers expected to rise over the weekend

By Jill Sperling
May 17, 2018 - 4:52pm

KAMLOOPS — As flood waters level off, and even drop in some communities across the Thompson Nicola Region, Kamloops' flood woes are just beginning. 

City workers have been following their flood response plan as the Thompson River begins to swell, and spent Thursday morning removing the guard rails from the Riverside Park Pier. 

City Utility Services Manager Greg Wightman says access has been cut off to the pier for the sake of public safety. 

"With the waters as high and flowing as quickly as they are it's just not safe for people to be out on that pier right now," he said. "So, we removed the railings, blocked off the pier to keep people off there, but also for damage to our infrastructure. Debris can get caught on that railing which causes it to rip out of the pier, and of course that could cause damage."

While the railing was being dismantled, Kamloops Fire Rescue attended in their rescue boat to ensure the safety of work crews. 

With the river expected to rise another 60 centimetres over the weekend, the city's Emergency Program Coordinator Dan Sutherland was asking anyone planning to take their own boat out on the water to be extra cautious. 

"That clearance at the bridge will become critical probably by the end of the weekend, so again, boaters beware there and be very very careful as they go under bridges," Sutherland said. 

Bridge clearance is one concern, erosion is yet another. 

"Please keep your speed down," Sutherland said. "As the water level is higher here right now, we've got to be respectful of the people in the community that do have riverside properties, and make sure that we're not seeing erosion, or making that erosion worse with boat wakes." 

In order to protect pedestrians, the city has closed Rivers Trail beneath the train bridge. 

Large flood protection bags have been placed over catch basins to prevent water from coming up through them. 

All these precautions come approximately two weeks earlier than last year. 

"We're definitely seeing a peak earlier this year," Wightman said. "We're about two weeks in advance of where we were last year. The real warm temperatures throughout May have elevated our melt here, so we're definitely two weeks in advance."

The city is hopeful that doesn't mean higher flood waters. 

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