By Andrea Arnold

The residents along the Dore River near McBride are still waiting for permission to take action to prevent more land loss due to a flood in the summer of 2020.

“We are asking for proactivity to prevent more damage,” said resident Kristine Drader. “There are three septic systems located less than 35 feet from the current river path,” she said.“If they go, there are going to be a lot more people affected, as there are people who get their drinking water from the river.”

The homes in this photo were not visible from the river before the flooding last summer. Now the residents watch the water levels, hoping they don’t lose more property with each fluctuation./ANDREA ARNOLD

Shortly after the flood, Drader and a group of local residents formed the Dore River Climate Change Action Society to advocate for homeowners.

The society wants to proceed with preventative measures, and have contractors lined up for a section of the work needed. However, they are waiting on engineering studies, permits and assessments. “We are trying to work with the government,” said Drader. “We are learning who has authority where.”

Engineers from McElhanney, a consulting firm, did a study of the Dore River from the Highway 16 bridge to the CN bridge downstream. This area saw the most impact following the flooding in the summer of 2020. The study was due to arrive in the hands of the society by the end of January, but Drader said it hasn’t arrived.

This pile of logs and debris is one of the reasons the Dore River continues to eat into the river bank causing land and trees to be swept away. /ANDREA ARNOLD

The society is also awaiting a permit from Water Stewardship. They want to protect the edge of properties downstream and east of the Highway 16 bridge, along the outside of a bend in the river. The likely method would be riprap, using large boulders to build up the river’s edge to prevent more land from sloughing away as the river’s depth changes. The society has received a $20,000 grant in aid from the Region District of Fraser Fort George, to help with the cost of machines and materials.

There is also a large pile of debris forcing the water to flow harder against that outside bank. “The Regional District and Emergency Measures BC worked together with Water Stewardship to make a plan to have that pile removed,” said Drader. “All levels of government are on board with the plan,” she said. “But now we have to wait on feedback from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.”

Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer, and Member of the Legislative Assembly Shirley Bond joined the society in the campaign for support by writing letters to ministers. MP Zimmer’s letter, dated January 6, 2021, urged the

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister to act quickly to allow the removal of debris to proceed.

As they wait for these decisions and permits to be processed, the residents along the Dore River wait, and listen as yet another tree falls into the flow and water inches closer to their homes.