State of emergency declared in Williams Lake due to flooding, erosion in River Valley

Several bridges in the Williams Lake River Valley have been compromised due to flooding.(Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
A local state of emergency and an evacuation order are in place for 11 properties in Williams Lake due to flooding and erosion in the River Valley. (City of Williams Lake)
Flooding in the River Valley has put the sewage lagoons at risk and taken out sections of the access road. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo)
Trees are in the Williams Lake Creek as flooding continues to impact the area. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
A lone picnic table is not too far from the edge now that the Williams Lake Creek has carved a wider channel. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Some industrial properties above the river valley in Williams Lake are under an evacuation order. (Angie Mindus Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The road in the Williams Lake River Valley has been washed away. (Angie Mindus Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Frizzi Road has been closed. (Angie Mindus Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

An evacuation order for 11 industrial properties on Frizzi Road and the River Valley trail and a local state of emergency have been declared in Williams Lake due to flooding and erosion in the River Valley.

The City’s director of municipal services Gary Muraca said the properties impacted are in the City’s industrial park area above the sewage lagoons.

Read More: City gets approval for emergency funds to address river valley flooding immediately

“We’ve been inspecting the area all week, but yesterday at about 1 p.m. we got notified about some of our sewer line being exposed near the second parking lot in the river valley” he told the Tribune Friday. “We were heading down there to take a look and we noticed one section of the road was starting to erode.”

Everyone was notified to get out of the area because the City did not trust the road, he added.

“By about 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. the road was completely gone. We’ve lost it and cannot get access down to there and past that point.”

Read More: Breaking: River Valley Trail closed due to washout, unsafe conditions

Many more issues are plaguing the river valley.

Two bridges are impassable and City crews have not been able to get back in there Friday to check the sewer lines.

Through computers and an electronic system the City can see that the sewer lagoons are fine at this time.

“But what is happening is the properties above the lagoons are at risk?” Muraca said. “Now we are noticing stress lines in the bank above. If that falls down, that’s where we are really concerned.”

Muraca said if the creek gets dammed from sloughing debris from the bank above the lagoons will get overburdened with water.

“Because of the location of the sanitary line and the velocity of the river right now, the water has eroded manholes and pipes. There’s no concern at this moment, but how much pressure can it all handle? We’ve got one exposed and if that breaks free there will be raw sewage flowing to the Fraser River.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is on site, with City crews and the engineer on ATVs and they are heading all the way down to the Fraser River to assess the entire corridor for damage.

“We have a request into the province for the repair. Just to kilometre three the damage is at least $550,000 and we haven’t even gone past that point. Someone from the province is flying in from Prince George to have a look because of that dollar value.”

In a new statement the City said the evacuation order is effective immediately and will last for seven days. All occupants of those properties are required to leave immediately, and access to the River Valley Trail has been closed until further notice.

An evacuation alert has also been issued for the Green Acres Mobile Home Park. The mobile park’s 86 homes are not under imminent threat, but residents are advised to prepare for the possibility of having to leave at a moment’s notice.

Residents should:

• Arrange a meeting place for themselves and their family

• Write down important numbers

• Pack a grab-and-go bag for one week including: clothes, medications, personal items, eyeglasses, credit cards

and cash, important documents including photo ID, insurance documents, keepsakes, pet supplies (leashes,

kennels, food), books and games and chargers for phones/electronics

• Make arrangements for pets and livestock. Pets cannot be le locked in house or yard

• Check on neighbours to ensure they are ready as well

• If evacuated, do not shut off natural gas.

To reach the Emergency Operations Centre, please call 250-392-2364 or 250-392-4321.

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