by Apryl Veld
In a year of unusually high snowpack, the district is preparing itself for possible flooding without all the funds.
“It’s not if (the river overflows) but when,” said district director, Tom Clement.
While Vanderhoof district has planning for flood mitigation, they are waiting for funding from the province to put more structures in place.
“The plan was put together last year and funding through the Provincial Emergency Program was applied for,” Clement said, however this will not come until after this spring’s runoff.
He explained what they need funding for is a berm that will give quick and easy access to place gabion baskets and sand bags should a high water event occur.
But the district has yet to get their hands on funding they need from the province.
“It is not known when the next round of funding will be,” Clement said, “there is no funding at this time, that is for sure.”
There are two areas being protected, Clement noted, one on the north shore and one on the south shore.
“There is still much work to do, but until there is a clear indication that funding is available from the province there is very little that we can do for the long term at this time,” the district director said.
Emergency flood scenarios are being drawn up by Vanderhoof Fire and Rescue, but they have not brought the plans to the public yet, as they are still being developed.
“We don’t have much to release right now,” fire chief, Joe Pacheco said.
At district meetings in January, Rio Tinto Alcan water expert, Justus Benchuysen told the public and council that this spring could see a high water buildup.
“Snowpack levels are reaching historical maximums,”Benckhuysen told mayor and council.
He added that Alcan forsees they will have to open Kenny Dam’s release valves all the way for the entire spring and summer of 2012 to keep water levels from breaching the dam.