Seabird Island Chief Jim Harris addressed the potential for Fraser River flooding in the community during his most recent video address on July 7. Community members worked for three days to put flood protection measures in place. (Screenshot/Seabird Island First Nation)

Seabird Island Chief applauds flood preparation

Community members worked for three days to build protective measures, Chief Harris said

  • Jul. 14, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Seabird Island is one of many communities holding their collective breath as they watch the ebb and flow of a very high Fraser River.

In his most recent video address dated July 7, Chief Jim Harris said the community seems to be “in the middle of what seems to be a very long freshet season.” Chief Harris indicated the combination between high snowpack and an especially rainy summer, the threat of flooding is quite real. He added Seabird Island public works officials have monitored the river since spring.

“In the past week or so, [public works] has been in meetings daily at the emergency operations centre regarding water levels,” Chief Harris told the community. “It’s come to the point that there is the possibility of some flooding in our area.With the help of the public works guys and other staff at the office, they were able to set up some flood protection along Seabird Island Road and down by Strawberry Island where the roads were low.”

RELATED: Fraser River dropping again after it surged to bank full conditions

Chief Harris said it was no easy task and stretched into three days of arduous work, and he thanked them for their efforts on behalf of himself and the Council.

“I know it has caused some inconvenience to some of our members and staff, but it is better to be safe than sorry,” Chief Harris said. “With the work they did, I hope when the people drive by Seabird Island Road, they can see and appreciate the hard work everyone involved has done.”

RELATED: Fraser River may surge one more time next week

Chief Harris stressed the need for caution for those who recreate down by the river, especially when levels are high.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre predicted this spring’s freshet would be the highest since 2012. The slow melt of the elevated snow pack due to cooler weather throughout the spring and summer made predicting peak levels more difficult.

To add to the anomalous nature of this year’s freshet, the Fraser River has as of publication peaked twice with a third peak on the way. It’s unusual to see two peaks in one freshet season and even more rare to see a third spike that was predicted to be in the lower Fraser communities by Wednesday, July 15.

With files from Jennifer Feinberg


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