Water levels have been reduced by about six inches at a historic beaver dam site high above Juniper Street off of South Lakeside Drive in Williams Lake to alleviate an identified increased water load, the city confirmed Friday, June 3.
On Thursday, June 2, the city activated its emergency operations centre at level one and declared a state of local emergency to authorize city staff and contractors to access private property and other resources as needed.
“We will continue to address the water levels into next week and we anticipate this will put us into a position to begin the recovery stage,” said Gary Muraca, the city’s chief administrative officer in a news release Friday.
Muraca told the Tribune the city was aware of a small lake in that location for many years but it was brought to the city’s attention more recently by the Cariboo Regional District through an aerial photograph.
As a result, the city asked the Ministry of Forests to have a look at the site.
“We had a conversation and we thought we’d better start remedying this potential hazard because of the increased beaver activity and how high the water level had got to,” Muraca said. “We wanted to release the water in a controlled environment so we are releasing it without overwhelming all the culverts on South Lakeside because if it goes all it once it could cause some damage down below.”
Muraca also thanked Quality Excavating and Construction and TRUE Consulting for assisting and responding quickly during the event.
The state of local emergency will remain in place for the remainder of the week and the city will provide updates as they become available.