Maple Ridge warns about runoff

Maple Ridge warns about runoff

Keep a close eye on Kanaka Creek and the Alouette rivers because it’s runoff time in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and the water is running high and fast.

Local rivers and streams are near peak levels, says the District of Maple Ridge, and it’s advising parents to ensure their kids are wearing life jackets if they’re near the South or North Alouette or Kanaka Creek.

District spokesperson Ceri Marlo said parents should check out the river themselves before allowing their kids near the water.

Meanwhile, the Fraser River hit 5.7 metres on the Mission gauge Thursday, triggering the start of Maple Ridge’s flood management plan. That calls for daily patrols of the entire diking system, once the river’s level hits 5.5 metres. Regular checks of other areas started when the level reached five metres.

Pitt Meadows crews are also constantly checking the 64 kilometres of dikes surrounding that city.

In Maple Ridge, staff are focusing on the Wharf Street area in Hammond, on the river side of the dike.

If the Mission gauge hits six metres, the district could issue an evacuation alert for the Wharf Street area.

If the Mission gauge hits 6.3 metres, an evacuation order could be considered.

“These are all guides. There are other factors that could be involved in these decisions,” Marlo said.

If the Mission gauge hit 6.9 metres, an evacuation alert would be considered for the area around Interfor’s Hammond cedar mill.

“We have a plan. We are following the plan at this time with the freshet.”

Commercial and industrial property owners along the Fraser River already have taken measures to ensure that equipment and other infrastructure are protected against the possible high water levels and fast river flow.

According to a Friday news release, anyone working or playing near local rivers should be wearing life jackets.

“A person falling into the river can be swept along very rapidly, and the combination of high water levels and rapid water flow generate more debris, which can be a challenge for even strong swimmers.”

According to the River Forecast Centre, the Fraser will be under six metres at the Mission gauge over the weekend.

The Mission gauge is located on the railway bridge between Mission and Abbotsford and has been recording river levels for more than a century.

• The readings from that gauge are available online at here and allow for graphing of data going back to 2009.