By Andru McCracken
Residents who live between Highway 16 and the CN bridge along the Dore River west of McBride are waiting patiently for an engineering study to be completed that will outline what can be done to tame the water course.
In late June, the Dore challenged its banks and changed its course. Residents like the O’Lennicks lost about half their property to the raging river; other families lost their wells and more infrastructure is at risk of being lost.
Kristine Drader is one of the affected residents and is taking a lead role in coordinating with the regional district and the province.
“Right now we are working with the Regional District. We got money from EMBC (Emergency Management BC) to do a study about what has happened in the river and the future,” she said.
She hopes the report will provide some options about what residents can do to secure their properties.
“Our hands are kind of tied until the study is done. We can’t go into the river and change the channel.”
Her guess is that the work will be expensive and hopes that various levels of government will find ways to pitch in.
“We know we live along the river, we know there is flooding, but we wouldn’t be in this situation if someone decided to protect their land and then stop,” said Drader.
She said reinforcement work by government and industry in response to a log jam and flooding event in 1986 may have worsened the outcome for their properties this year, directing water towards unreinforced areas.
Drader said residents have been getting solid support from Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer and MLA Shirley Bond.
“They are really speaking with us, for us and helping,” she said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed and being optimistic.”
Short term action is being taken. Drader said a log jam that helped change the course of the river is slated to be moved. Contractors are waiting for low water and permits to remove the debris.
Drader said her property forms part of a flood plain of the river, but she isn’t particularly worried about losing that part of her property, because permanent buildings are not allowed there, and if the river cuts a new channel there, it would likely take pressure off the opposite side where wells and properties are at stake.
“If it forms a new channel there it helps other people on the side of the river and will help take the pressure off.”