Fire chief looks at emergency flood scenario for area

A presentation from Rio Tinto Alcan outlined concerns about flooding due to high levels of snowpack unusual for this early in winter,

A presentation from Rio Tinto Alcan outlined concerns about flooding due to high levels of snowpack unusual for this early in winter, the District of Vanderhoof heard at its January 11 meeting.

“Snowpack levels are reaching historical maximums,” Alcan representative, Justus Benckhuysen told mayor and council as he showed graphs, including satellite real-time data measurements made over the couple of weeks prior to the meeting.

While reservoirs are capable of holding large influxes, even major discharges to relieve the buildup from local watersheds could still see reservoirs remaining filled to the brim by spring the hydrographer warned.

“Based on the where Vanderhoof and are are now and the natural drop we would expect as the winter gets colder, we can expect the inflows for the year to be 156 per cent of the long-term average,” Benckhuysen noted.

The Alcan presentation showed the effect of what it might look like if the pattern were to continue,  “even while some of this has to do with the warmer temperatures that we’ve been experiencing,” he said, while snow continues to accumulate.

He showed the flow conditions of the Nechako River to include a model of maximum flow scenario at more than double the average as the region has  been experiencing so far this winter.

With the average precipitation and snowmelt we can reasonably expect  Benckhuysen observed, along with the maximum volume of water that can be discharged from the reservoir, (some 80 cubic metres per second,) it would be just short of being filled to the brim.

“The reservoir would not quite fill up. We would reach one foot from capacity,” Benckhuysen said.

But he also noted that this means we would still be needing to let go the maximum discharge from out of the dam’s spillway as the warmer months progressed to keep up with the agressive flow.

“We would need to let go as much water as we can all spring and summer,” Benckhuysen said.

He added that water flows can be hard to predict, observing, “It’s not always possible to match trends and this can only be seen in hindsight.”

Fire and rescue chief, Joe Pacheco said they are revamping their rescue plan just in case. Mayor Gerry Thiessen ended the discussion by requesting Benckhuysen to return in two weeks to give an update of the situation.


Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read