The Williams Lake river valley will remain closed to the public this summer as crews continue with the emergency response to flooding in the area. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Westsyde bike trails damaged by flooding; heavy rains hamper spill cleanup work in River Valley

“The flooding compromised the slope and the trail was eaten up and dropped 20 metres in a section.”

Williams Lake residents are encouraged to avoid the Spokey Hollow and Booga Wooga mountain bike trails on the city’s Westsyde Trail Network after a recent, large landslide at the top of the River Valley.

Located alogn the Tolko Road, the City, Williams Lake First Nation and B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOE) said the slope is unstable and unsafe for any activity.

The Spokey Hollow trail is fully closed, while Booga Wooga remains partially closed.

Mark Savard, owner of Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed and mountain biking pioneer of the region, said, additionally, Lower Max has been mostly washed away.

“The flooding compromised the slope and the trail was eaten up and dropped 20 metres in a section,” Savard said.

“The start of Booga Wooga is very dangerous right now, as well. No one should use the trails below Booga Wooga to the River Valley as the City has closed all access to the public.”

Meanwhile, despite heavy rains and high water levels, crews continue to make progress in cleaning up the spill in the River Valley caused by flooding.

Treated effluent from the City of Williams Lake’s sanitary sewer lagoons is still flowing to the Fraser River, the city said in a joint release Friday afternoon.

Although construction work has been slower over the past two weeks due to excessive rain, Bridge 8, directly adjacent to the “Ash Tray,” is now being installed, while bridges 6 and 7 are being armoured.

Road improvements are also being completed as needed.

Emergency Operations Centre crews continue to develop a strategy to mitigate damage from the compromised sewer pipe, while also working on bolstering roads, bridges and unstable slopes damaged by the flood waters. Eight out of 14 damaged bridges have been reinstated. Work in the River Valley is expected to take a few more months to complete and the public is asked to continue to avoid the area at this time. Updates will be provided weekly by the Unified Command at the Emergency Operations Centre, involving the City of Williams Lake (COWL), WLFN and MOE.

Meanwhile, the City of Williams Lake remains in a state of local emergency. Nine properties on Frizzi Road also remain under an evacuation order.

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