A grant announcement on July 3 that will allow the Village of Cache Creek to proceed with flood prevention and mitigation work on Old Cariboo Road came just two days before the residents of the Riverside mobile home park on Old Cariboo — which has been hard hit by flood damage in 2015, 2017, and 2018 — were placed on Evacuation Order due to the threat posed by flooding.
The move, which came late in the afternoon of July 5, was described as a precautionary measure.
Heavy rainfall on July 1 caused the river to rise rapidly, triggering an Evacuation Alert for 175 low-lying properties along the Bonaparte River in Cache Creek. The high water also caused the Village to shut down one of its two wells temporarily, meaning that Stage 4 water restrictions were put in place.
After two months of decreasing water levels, the rainfall on Canada Day caused the water in Cache Creek to rise suddenly, flooding the Cache Creek fire hall and Cariboo Sam Park on July 2. Excavation equipment was brought in to clear the debris choking the culvert at Quartz Road, in order to return the creek to its normal course.
Cache Creek Chief Administrative Officer Martin Dalsion says that there was minor damage to the fire hall, and some debris got into it, but that it has been cleaned up. “There was some damage to minor bits of furniture, but we’ll deal with it ourselves.”
At the start of the week much of the Cache Creek Park was underwater, and Dalsin says that the saturated ground simply cannot absorb any more water. He’s asking people to stay away from riverbanks, and out of the park, until the danger recedes.
“Because the banks and the area back from banks is so completely saturated, you can fall into the river — which is flowing very fast — just by stepping on the banks and them giving way. Stay well back.
“The park is also saturated, because there’s nowhere for the water to go. Some people still want to use it, but we’re very concerned about the safety in there, so people need to stay out. The water is a lot deeper than it appears. It looks like it’s only a few inches, but it’s two or three feet deep in places, because there are high and low spots. It’s very deceiving.”
Sandbags have once again been placed at locations around Cache Creek for residents who want them. Anyone who already has sandbags on their property is advised to keep them in place for the time being, then either leave them in place or store them away for future use.
However, Dalsin has a word of caution regarding the sandbags. “I’m hearing that the green ones are breaking down, because they’re made of biodegradable material, so people might have some extra cleaning up to do if they don’t move them.”
Evacuation Alerts were first put in place for Cache Creek properties this year on April 20, when an early snow melt caused a rapid rise in water levels. It is the fourth time in six years that the community has been put at major risk from flooding.