The Valemount Children’s Activity Society’s Annual Duck Race was held on Mother’s Day, May 12, and the sun peaked out just in time for the start of the race. It was a swift one – the rain overnight brought the level and current of Swift Creek up quickly, and once released from the banks upstream, the lead ducks quickly broke away from the pack.

Anne Yanciw, Valemount’s CAO, said the Village is monitoring the level of Swift Creek closely, two to three times a day, and they are working with Emergency Management BC on Spring Readiness Coordination. The province also informs the Village of snowpack levels. Although the Upper Fraser Basin was at 129 percent of the average on May 1 this year, it is significantly lower than the May 1, 2012 level of snowpack which was 152 per cent of average. Anne says they are encouraged that “all work from last year is holding” and they are optimistic it won’t be another event year.

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George has issued a reminder to use caution near rivers and streams. “As a result of the warmer weather, increases have been noted in water levels in some of the rivers and streams throughout the region. Rivers and streams are naturally unpredictable, but a sudden rise in water levels can create added risks. Rising waters can lead to unstable banks, an increase in debris in the water and fast flowing undercurrents.”

You can get more information, including how to assemble a 72-Hour Emergency Kit for you and your family on their website, Remember that hot weather and rain tend to bring the snowpack down quickly. Be aware, make your kids aware, and play it safe.

Dozens of raincoat- and sandal-clad people lined the banks of the creek and watched the race from the viewing bridge at George Hicks Park, while a few brave volunteers waded into the creek to try to keep the ducks on track – and catch them at the finish line! Lower water levels in past years meant the rubber ducks could be corralled in a shallow spot at the first corner below the viewing bridge, but the momentum built up this year by the ducks meant that many made their way over and under the finish line, and so even more volunteers with nets worked to recapture some of the overzealous ducks downstream.

The unofficial winners of the race were Jean Osadchuk, Charise Smith and Sharon-Rose Shalla.

By: Korie Marshall