The City of Terrace declared a state of local emergency (SOLE) today so it can get funding through Emergency Management BC (EMBC) for repairs to Frank Street, which is at risk of erosion due to flooding from the Skeena River.
Mayor Carol Leclerc said while a local state of emergency might sound ominous, residents don’t need to be overly concerned.
“That will start with a number of trucks dumping rock to protect where the river is coming very close to the road,” Leclerc said. “It was a precautionary plan to make sure that nothing happens on Frank Street.”
While the SOLE is issued city-wide, city representative Kate Lautens stressed that the measure does not reflect a growing concern for other city infrastructure or private property.
She said this is an annual problem during the spring melt and immediate repairs are needed before the risk of road washout becomes imminent.
Current CLEVER modelling from the provincial River Forecast Centre shows the Skeena River has already peaked and will not reach levels significant enough to breach the banks in Terrace.
Jonathan Lambert, the city’s director of engineering and public works, was already predicting risk of erosion on Frank Street earlier this month during a tour of critical infrastructure.
The city installed a Tiger Dam at the Skeena Street lift station on June 4 as a preventative measure and a training exercise for crews was held by EMBC staff to help with flood preparedness.
Critical city infrastructure in low-lying areas was assessed to pinpoint locations for installation of both Tiger Dams and Gabion baskets received from EMBC.
A Tiger Dam is built using water-filled tubes to create a barrier. Gabions are cage-like enclosures filled with stones, brick, or broken concrete to form a wall or fence.
Leclerc said flood levels have not been as drastic as in the past, which is comforting. She said city staff and EMBC have been working closely together as the flooding situation unfolds.
“They’ve had a number of days to prepare for this and I think that they’ve done a really good job and just being really proactive,” Leclerc said.
“I think we’re prepared. I don’t want to underestimate Mother Nature because there’s still a lot of snow on the mountains and we’ve had little mini flash floods and a lot of rain. We’re just staying on guard.”
Lambert said a worst case scenario flooding event could impact the sewage treatment plant and intake for drinking water alongside the Skeena River. At risk residential areas include Skeena Street and the western half of Graham Avenue.
“We have plans in place for all the areas of key infrastructure.”
The Frank Street repairs consist of installing rip rap erosion protection. The city has contracted McElhanney to design and manage the completion of the works. Repairs are expected to be completed within seven days.
Frank Street will be closed to all traffic during construction, temporary signage will be in place on Highway 16 and vehicles will be directed to use alternate routes for the duration of the closure.
Lautens said the city has been in communications with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Kitselas, and Kitsumkalum regarding the work on Frank Street.
She said the city will provide another update should any significant changes occur in the forcast.
Do you have a comment about this story? email: