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Swan Lake, for example – about 30 kilometres south of the city and near the Alberta border, had risen somewhat, but some of that pressure had been relieved by the Swan Lake Enhancement Society, a group of local lake stewards. Ed Sargent, a member of that society, said normally a weir keeps the water level up in the lake to maintain a healthy ecosystem, but they took out the weir earlier that day to allow some of the water to flow back into the Tupper River.
“Right now the water isn’t too bad, it has only come up about four or five inches, but I dont expect it to start really coming up until late this afternoon or tomorrow, once the water comes down from the hills,” said Sargent.
He added the ground is already so saturated that it won’t take much for water to start pooling and running off downhill.
Sargent was at the Tupper Hall that afternoon filling sandbags to put around his nearby cabin. He said he was attempting to divert some of the water running down his property, but for the most part, his and many of the other nearby cabins are probably elevated enough to avoid any major issues, though for a few that is not the case. He added the last heavy rainfall event a couple weeks ago prepared him and others for where the issues are likely to be.
“The biggest concern is probably some of the bridges around here, just if the debris comes up and closes them off. The road crews are going to have to be on top of making sure they are all cleaned up.”
Sargent added that it is best for the public to stay off the lake at this time, not only for their safety, but also to not add to any erosion that may take place along the lake shore.
The calmness by which he proceeded to prepare for the heavy rainfall was echoed by Wayne Hiebert, who represents the communities currently under the evacuation alert as the director for Area D with the Peace River Regional District. He said it appeared from the residents he talked to in the area, there were not any major problems to report so far.
“There is not too much sweat right now, if I can put it that way,” he said, though he added the evacuation alert will probably remain in effect over the weekend as a precaution.
He said the rivers and creeks in the area seem to be handling the steady downpour well, though if rain continues to roll in from Alberta, he expects some will overflow their banks.
Hiebert said anyone with any questions or concerns should phone the regional districts 24-hour line at 250-784-3200.
Be sure to check out www.drivebc.ca for the latest information on any road closures or delays in the region.
Mile 0 City will continue to update the situation in the South Peace region.
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