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June 25th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 25
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Commuity efforts adverts
repeat of June 2013 flood
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Heavy equipment stands in front of material removed from Lyons Creek.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Mother Nature smiled last week, as forecasted heavy rains failed to materialize, which meant mostly sunny skies for Hillcrest Mine Disaster 100th Anniversary Events and Bellcrest Days.
But it was close thing as municipal officials declared a state of emergency, canceled a council meeting and called out heavy machinery on June 17 to combat a potential repeat of the June floods.
Last Tuesday night, council was notified to expect from 180 to 195 millimeters of rain over 36 hours. After a meeting it was decided that it would be in the community’s best interest to declare a state of emergency, said Mayor Blair Painter.
“We were originally told that the brunt of the flooding would be in the west,” said Painter. “We also knew we were going to have a problem with Lyons Creek again. So we had equipment placed there.”
The community received about 150 millimeters of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, which was nowhere near the amount of rainfall that was forecast. No structures were lost and no evacuation was put in place.
At one point officials were anticipating the flows of the Crowsnest River to reach 190-195 cubic meters per second. The river has a capacity of 200 cubic meters per second, said Painter.
“We were expecting the worst,” said Painter.
Several areas in the community reported overland flooding. One was an issue near Nez Pers Creek in Coleman, where a blocked culvert was causing problems. Another other was in Bushtown where storm water began backing up.
Lyons Creek was also affected as water started coming up over the bridge deck and onto 19th Avenue in Blairmore.
A small number of municipal crews who were on roving patrols were called in to address the issues with the 19th Avenue Bridge over Lyons Creek in Blairmore, Nes Perz Creek in Coleman and in Bushtown, said CAO Sheldon Steinke.
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Contract heavy equipment was also deployed to remove debris from pinch points as needed. Some equipment was deployed to the CPR Bridge in Blairmore and some was held in reserve, said Steinke.
Painter said municipal staff and work crews put in countless hours of overtime and went without sleep to make sure the community was safe. The volunteer fire department was also on call throughout the night, he said.
Steinke added his gratitude to the Quad Squad, Bear Smart Volunteers and outside agencies including the RCMP, Alberta Health, ESRD, ATCO Gas, FORTIS and others who took the time out of their schedules to support the community in its time of need.
The situation was equally hairy on the other side of the provincial border. And Teck Coal reported that mining sediments had washed out of worksites and into local streams.
On the morning of June 19, heavy rainfall and snowmelt washed sediment from the mining operation from the Line Creek Phase 2 project into Dry Creek, said Nic Milligan, manager of Community & Aboriginal Affairs.
Milligan says this led to increased turbidity in Dry Creek and the downstream Fording River.
“The appropriate regulatory authorities were immediately notified and turbidity levels have since started to subside,” said Milligan. “We have begun an investigation and are working on mitigation measures to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.”
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June 25th ~ Vol. 84 No. 25
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