Emergency meeting slated for Genelle residents at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday)
Photo by Anna Kaytor: BC Hydro's berm road, being built to keep water at bay in Genelle.
Water levels are expected to rise even further in an already-overflowing Genelle, but officials have slated a public meeting at 7 p.m. today to reassure increasingly-concerned residents.
BC Hydro spokesperson Mary Anne Coules told The Source this morning that they’re forecasting another foot-and-a-half swell before the river subsides, which may not happen until late July or early August.
“These situations change by the minute,” RDKB deputy regional fire chief and emergency program coordinator Dan Derby said. “But from what we saw yesterday and what we were told yesterday, there are no structures at risk.”
He said part of the purpose of the meeting is to inform residents of what to expect in terms of mitigation measures, and to encourage people to keep a safe distance as work continues, after last night saw workers being regularly interrupted by residents wanting to know what was happening.
“That was a concern last night, (and I’d advise that residents) allow the work by the river to go on uninterrupted,” he said. “It is a safety issue as well, with heavy equipment at work, etc.”
Derby added that, while there appears to be no risk to residential property or homes, concerns remain that include fire/ambulance access should more roadways become impassable, ensuring egress for residents, and already backed-up and overflowing septic fields.
Derby added that he was notified of the situation by the owner of Whispering Pines Trailer Park, Barry Thoen, who will be hosting tonight’s meeting.
Thoen said he has no concerns about the septic fields.
“The water isn’t ever even going to reach our septic fields, which are about five feet above the water,” he said, adding his greatest concern is what kind of damage will have been done to 17 Avenue and Lower China Creek Road by the time the water recedes.
Meanwhile, BC Hydro is continuing work on a berm road designed to keep the water from further compromising those thoroughfares, or others within the riverside community (the bottom portion of the trailer park is within BC Hydro’s water license).
Regional district emergency program and BC Hydro representatives will be available to provide information at tonight’s meeting in Genelle, which will be held in front of park unit #53 at 7 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend.