The District of Lillooet closed down Cayoosh Creek Park campground last Wednesday, June 20 as Fraser River floodwaters continued to rise.
Chief Administrative Officer Grant Loyer told the News June 20 the river level rose six inches that morning, leading to the decision to close the park for safety reasons.
“We’re closing it as a precautionary measure because of the high water and the unpredictability of the situation right now,” said Loyer. “We don’t even want to think of any kind of risk to anyone camping down there.”
Loyer and other administrators in southern BC have been holding regular conference calls with the Emergency Operations Centre in Kamloops and Provincial Emergency Program, River Watch and Ministry of Environment officials regarding the flooding situation in this part of the province.
He said the level of the Fraser River is currently at a 1-in-20-year flow level.
“It’s expected to peak at Hope on Friday (June 22) and then go down and then peak again next week,” Loyer said last week. “It’s going up and down and it’s all because of the weather.”
The forecast for Lillooet and southwestern British Columbia is for clearer, drier weather, with the freeze-thaw level going from 2,500 metres to 3,500 metres, which could mean more snowpack melts in this area.
“Environment Canada has had a hard time predicting a lot of this, because things are changing very quickly,” added Loyer. “They know that a system is coming in, but now it’s delayed a little bit. It’s going to hit somewhere; they’re not exactly sure where.”
Loyer told the News the District’s new water project installations in Cayoosh Creek Park, including wells and the water treatment plant will all be constructed on built-up sections of the park to ensure they are protected from future flooding.
“We are going to raise the elevation of the ground at least one metre above what it is right now because we’ve already had the calculations done for flood plain elevation,” he said. “That’s always been the plan.”
He said raising the elevation just over a meter, which is the District’s plan, “will take us to a 1-in-100 year flood plain elevation.” The new raised height of the building and installations would be higher than historic flood levels.