A sandbag wall set up near Summerland to keep rising lake waters off water-front property. Image: Doug Farrow

City of Fernie sets up sandbag station

On June 2, the BC River Forecast Centre issued a High Streamflow Advisory for the East Kootenay region.

A High Streamflow Advisory means that river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but that no major flooding is expected though minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

The City of Fernie has closed a section of trail in James White Park due to water in that area. The portion closed is from the ballfields to the railway crossing at Mt. McLean Street and Cokato Road.

In the event of significant rainfall over the coming days, a sandbagging station has been set up at the City of Fernie Public Works Yard, 1492 Railway Avenue.

All residents are asked to please respect signage and exercise caution around fast-moving water.

With rising waters across the province as spring run-off begins, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) is encouraging residents living near waterways or in flood-prone areas to take steps now to be aware and prepare.

“It is so important for people to protect their homes and properties early,” said Emergency Services Coordinator Travis Abbey in a statement. “We have established numerous sandbag stations around the region so they are available to anyone wishing to be proactive in sandbagging.”

Sandbag stations are located at Centennial Centre in Kimberley, the City of Cranbrook Public Works Yard, Wasa Community Hall, Elk River Inn in Hosmer, Jaffray Community Hall, Windermere Fire Hall parking lot, and on the east side of the old barn beside Mountainside Golf Course in Fairmont.

The sandbag stations have sand and bags; however, residents need to bring their own shovels and gloves. Sandbags should be filled between half and three-quarters full with the ends folded over for best compaction and effectiveness when placing them.

While there is no new active flooding in the East Kootenay, according to the RDEK, water levels are running high in many channels and with both warm weather and precipitation in the forecast, are expected to rise.

“The most effective tool in the toolbox is early preparation and prevention. Residents who are concerned they may be impacted by water levels need to take steps now to prepare themselves,” added Abbey. “At the emergency management level, we are working cooperatively with all the municipalities and First Nations in the East Kootenay and are ready to provide support as needed.”

Residents who see, or are experiencing, wide-scale flooding are encouraged to report it to the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456. This is the fastest and most effective way to activate local emergency management personnel.