The front page of the Williams Lake Tribune’s April 28, 1965 edition shows that flooding was extreme that year as well as a truck and trailer knocked out the last remaining road link over the Deep Creek Bridge which had been compromised by flooding. (Williams Lake Tribune archives)

Editorial: Flooding history in Williams Lake area

Similar to 2020, flooding in 1965 impacted the City’s sewage infrastructure

Last Tuesday, April 28 the Tribune toured the Williams Lake area to view flooding impacts thanks to the generosity of helicopter pilot Wayne Peterson.

Peterson said he recalled a similar flooding year in 1965, which later prompted us to delve into our archives of old newspapers.

Opening up the April 28, 1965 issue it was startling to see the front page headline — ‘Floods play havoc with local roads.’

Articles in that edition discussed chunks of Highway 97 North being completely ripped away by the swollen waters and bridges falling all over the district.

Residents of Sugar Cane told the Tribune it was the worst runoff they’d seen since the 1945 havoc and South Lakeside resident Guy Cawley reported his deep freeze was floating in two and a half feet of water.

Read more: Williams Lake water level increases almost three feet in 48 hours

Cawley rallied his South Lakeside neighbours together and they invited three engineers from Kamloops to come to Williams Lake.

Subsequently a dredge was brought in from Prince George to dredge Williams Lake Creek at the west end of the lake. His son lives in the house today.

In the May 5, 1965 edition there were photographs on the front page of trailers seeming to be on the brink of floating away in Williams Lake.

An article with the headline ‘Dynamite charges clear log jam in creek,’ detailed efforts to save the town’s sewage lagoon from joining swollen Williams Lake Creek.

While the secondary lagoon cell was damaged, the article noted, crews attempted to save the first cell but the roaring waters were too much for the clay walls and 2,000 sandbags held the water back for only a short time.

It does seem like 2020 is much like the second installment of 1965.

Read more: VIDEO: Aerial tour of flooding in Williams Lake area

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