A 400-metre gabion dike was installed in Hope last week to combat flooding along the Fraser River.
The temporary wall is made up of metal mesh baskets that stand about a metre high and unfold into sections, which are then linked together and filled with sand.
“This was an opportunity to protect the infrastructure and protect public safety,” said fire chief Tom DeSorcy, who is also Hope’s emergency preparedness coordinator. “If this happens again, we know this diking system can certainly be deployed out here. We were kind of the test for other communities.”
A rapid response team from Saskatchewan was called in to oversee the installation of the gabion baskets along Seventh Avenue and Wardle Street, with assistance from District of Hope and B.C. Wildlife Management Unit crews. Set up of the 400-metre dike took 1.5 days.
Residents in the area were happy to see the flood barrier in place last week. Ashley Kraszlany, who is currently in the process of building up her backyard on Wardle Street, said even though she wasn’t concerned about flooding on her property, she was nervous for neighbours in low-lying areas down the street, including the McLarens at the corner of Hazel and Seventh streets.
The couple raised their backyard several years ago in order to prevent water damage, however the recent flooding caused some undermining of a rock wall.
“I do think this proactive approach by the district certainly will provide some relief and peace of mind for residents if we should experience these kinds of flood levels again in the future,” said Tammy McLaren.
The deployment of the gabion diking system was initiated by Emergency Management B.C. A sandbag machine and 10,000 sandbags were also shipped to Hope last week, which were used to build up the berm on Landstrom Road.