An area of the Goat River off Highway 21 often used as a beach in the summer was covered with deep and fast-moving water in this photo taken two weeks ago.

RDCK to premier: help!

As the Kootenay River continues to rise, the Regional District of Central Kootenay is asking the premier to intervene.

As the Kootenay River continues to rise, the Regional District of Central Kootenay is asking the premier to intervene.

“It’s just a question of having someone at a higher political level assisting local government in making sure what’s being done is appropriate,” said rural Kaslo director Andy Shadrack, who introduced the motion adopted Thursday.

Directors contend this year’s near-record levels on the river and lake are not merely the result of Mother Nature, but of discharges from Montana’s Libby dam, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

“I want the premier to intervene to make sure the discharges are necessary and not causing undue hardship,” Shadrack said.

FortisBC has warned water levels on Kootenay Lake could exceed 1,753 feet at Queens Bay in the next few days, which would be the highest since 1974.

On Thursday, lake levels stood at 1,752.1 feet (534 m), a slight decline from the previous three days.

The utility company says lake levels are “predominantly” driven by natural inflows as a result of melting snow pack and precipitation, and it has been operating the Kootenay River system at maximum discharge since mid-March.

Shadrack says a storm on Kootenay Lake two weeks ago resulted in waves two to three feet high, and damaged a number of marinas.

Some basements at Mirror Lake have flooded, while a breakwater at Jones Boys Boats at Woodbury was breached, forcing them to move all their vessels onto dry land. (The company has posted a video of the evacuation on its website.)

Shadrack is concerned damage from the next windstorm will be even more severe.

Meanwhile, a rural Creston director is warning of potential “catastrophic effects” if the Kootenay River rises another two feet this weekend.

Larry Binks says in some areas, the river is within ten inches of spilling its banks.

“We could have thousands and thousands of gallons of water spreading over maybe 1,000 acres of farm land under seed right now,” he said. “That will start to rot the seed, and the farmers’ oats and barley will become nonexistent.”

Binks said he’s never seen the water this high on the river dikes.

Rural Salmo director Hans Cunningham and Kaslo director Greg Lay opposed the motion to ask the premier to step in.

Kettle decries ‘self-inflicted’ damage

Regional district chair John Kettle, who contends most of the flooding problems experienced this spring in the Creston area are “self-inflicted,” plans to take a novel approach: he’ll declare a state of emergency as a preventative step.

Noting that emergency orders activate funding and tools that are otherwise unavailable, Kettle says he wants to see how far he can push the idea.

He’s concerned flooding on the Goat River near Highway 21 has become a recurring problem.

“This is a self-inflicted problem in my opinion,” he said. “It needs remediation, not fixes after the flood damage has been done.”

He blamed federal regulations to protect fish habitat, and wants the issue addressed before another season of flooding affects properties.

“To preserve every inch of a river and call it fish habitat is ridiculous,” he said, adding that he did get Department of Fishers and Oceans approval to move equipment in to prevent further erosion to the river banks.

“Our senior levels of government are willing to spend millions of dollars after the damage is done, but they won’t spend anything to prevent it — it doesn’t make sense.”

Kettle says his plan is to declare a local state of emergency in August to remediate those areas where flooding occurred this spring — resulting in other emergency orders, road closures, and evacuations.

He acknowledges, however, that he is testing the system.

With files from Lorne Eckersley, Creston Valley Advance


Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Nelson’s mural festival: scenes from opening night

Crowds wandered the streets and alleys finding delightful surprises in unlikely places

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Most Read