Photo: City of Merritt
Crews worked to stabilize the Coldwater Riverbank in Merritt ahead of a weekend storm that led to a significant rise in river levels Sunday.
There are still 330 properties without power in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, with crews working Monday to restore infrastructure and respond to outages around Merritt and Coldwater Road, according to BC Hydro.
Sally MacDonald, a community relations representative for BC Hydro, spoke at a virtual TNRD public briefing Monday afternoon, saying most of the disruptions affect the Merritt area.
MacDonald said there are still 137 powerless properties in the town of Merritt, 111 between Merritt and Brookmere, and 91 are without power along the Highway 8 corridor.
“The customers who are out in the Thompson-Nicola region, we do not yet have an estimated restoration time, because it will depend on the reconstruction of our infrastructure in these areas,” she said.
“We are keeping a close eye on the weather system and we will be able to safely demobilize our crews if the weather demands it so we can continue to respond to outages and help as much as we can.”
She said BC Hydro also supports other agencies with restoration efforts along Highway 1, Highway 8, Coldwater Road and Coquihalla Highway.
“That work includes accessing and building a solid foundation on which our infrastructure can be built,” MacDonald said.
She said crews would try to access the Dot Ranch area along Highway 8 – about halfway between Merritt and Spences Bridge – to assess repairs along that route.
Ian Wood, director of clinical operations for Thompson South Cariboo Primary Community Care, said the emergency department at Nicola Valley Hospital in Merritt is open from 6 p.m. 12:00 Monday and closes at
Wood said the emergency will run through the week from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“We will have COVID testing back on site, the same place it was previously deployed. This will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 3pm. Plenty of space available,” Wood said.
He said COVID-19 vaccines will also be administered Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“This will be available for dose one and dose two drop-in, and we also have boosters and ages five to 11 years [for] only agreement, “Wood said.
ORIGINAL HISTORY: 10:11
City officials in Merritt received good news Monday morning after temporary diving and stabilization efforts kept a rising Coldwater River in bay overnight.
The Coldwater River, which spilled its banks earlier in the month and caused extensive damage, rose sharply again Sunday. The river peaked at 2,738 meters in height just before 10pm – far from its peak at 3,455 meters in height on 15 November.
City of Merritt spokesman for the Emergency Operations Center, Alan Stebbing, told Castanet that a lot of work went into supporting riverbanks and constructing temporary dikes.
“We are pleased to report that the strengthening of the dikes and riverbanks that our city crews and the military were able to do actually held the water and there were no significant floods,” Stebbing said, noting that the crews now assesses the situation in the city.
“Of course, we’re also focused on the next storm that looks set to hit BC, and we want to make sure we’m prepared for that.”
The rising water on Sunday prompted city officials in Merritt to suspend a program that had seen residents in low-lying areas still under evacuation orders allowed to return for daylight visits. Those visits resume on Monday, the city said.
The Coldwater River had dropped significantly from Monday morning, showing an elevation of 2,304 meters just before noon.
Stebbing said the success the city had on Sunday night was significant.
“It was huge, and like I said, there has been a huge effort that has gone into this with city crews, with contractors, with crews from other communities and of course the military,” he said.
“I think it’s pretty incredible that we’ve been able to keep what – before this flood – would have been a worrying amount of water in the cold water. When everything was destroyed, I think it was a great effort for everyone to be able to keep the flood out. “