Fraser carefully being watched

Emergency preparedness officials are keeping a close eye on the rising Fraser River.

A teleconference call today (June 2) with the River Forecast Centre (RFC) will have the most up-to-date results of snow pack measurements, said Mission Fire Chief Ian Fitzpatrick on Wednesday.

As of yesterday morning, the Fraser was measured at 5.3 metres at the Mission bridge gauge, but Fitzpatrick, who also serves as the local emergency preparedness coordinator, noted the river level is still fluctuating due to tides.

But concern is rising, he admits. The RFC hasn’t seen any melting of the snowpack in Prince George — which directly affects water levels locally — and more rain and snow has accumulated during the past few weeks.

The potential flooding situation is “very weather dependent,” he noted.

Flood plans from 2007, the last time the river swelled to a dangerous stage, have been pulled out and are being updated.

The Mission dike is in good shape given the federal funding used in the past three years to raise and improve the structure, reports Fitzpatrick, but there are a few spots on private property that haven’t been upgraded.

The Silverdale dike has been built up, but it is an agricultural dike and isn’t to the same standard as Mission. If the water rises enough, letters will be sent to business owners in the affected areas warning them to have a backup plan in case flooding occurs, he said.