A near-fatal kayaking incident on Canada Day has resulted in warning signs being placed at two spots on the Coquihalla River.
An old pipeline runs across the river in two locations and became exposed after last November’s flooding. The first spot, according to a Facebook post by Enbridge, is 500 metres south of Exit #192 (Sowaqua Creek) on the Coquihalla Highway and about five kilometres downstream of the Carolin Mine Road.
That’s the one that caused the Canada Day incident which resulted in a kayaker being plucked out of the river and air-lifted to hospital.
Local resident Renee Coghill posted a warning to kayakers on Facebook the following day.
Coghill is a member of Hope Search & Rescue.
“The pipe is in the water and creates a bad recycling hole, like a wier (barrier), that might become a strainer as the water level is dropping,” she wrote.
A strainer is an obstruction that will let water through but hold up larger objects, like kayaks.
At the time Coghill posted, there were no warning signs, but Enbridge moved quickly to get some up. The first is 100 metres from the hazard and the second is upstream, letting paddlers know about an ‘Obstruction in River’ and ‘Hazardous Currents Below.’
Coghill suggested another sign was planned for the river access point near Carolin.
“We’re installing signage upstream of these locations and are planning to complete remediation work in August once we have received all applied-for required regulatory permits,” the Enbridge Facebook post noted. “A key factor of timing for permit approvals is minimizing disruption to the ecosystem.”
The second exposed pipe in the Coquihalla River is 17 kilometres northeast of Hope and five kilometres north of Exit 183 (Othello Road) on the Coquihalla Highway.
The is also exposed pipe at one location on the Coldwater River, 500 metres west of the intersection of Patchett Road and Coldwater Road, south of Merritt, and about 13 kilometres downstream from the river access point at Exit 256 (Coldwater Road) on the Coquihalla Highway.
“Until remediation is complete, we recommend avoiding these impacted areas,” the Enbridge post said.
Anyone with questions is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org
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