Residents in the B.C. towns of Golden and Creston are watching the ice on two local rivers with a wary eye, after this week's cold snap caused ice jams to build up near the towns.

Jon Wilsgard, chief administrative officer for the town of Golden, said large chunks of ice, some the size of compact cars, broke away from a Rocky Mountain canyon above the town of Golden.

Ice jam - Kicking Horse River at Golden - 2

The chief administrative officer for the town of Golden is concerned the ice buildup could flood the community, or bisect it by taking out the bridge. (Courtesy Jon Wilsgard, CAO, Town of Golden)

"The entire lower half of the Kicking Horse Canyon, of ice, came to rest in Golden," he said.

Golden's town council was concerned enough about the ice jam causing flowing and other damage to pay for a flyover survey this week.

As of Wednesday, the ice chunks were piling up perilously close to downtown, even scraping the bottom of the bridge over the Kicking Horse River.

"Our downtown is right next to the north side of the dike and Kicking Horse [River], so if in fact the ice rose and lifted for example the [Highway] 95 bridge off its abutments, we would have a dissected community," Wilsgard said.  

Ice jam - Kicking Horse River at Golden - 3

Officials are asking people to stay off the ice, which is volatile and unpredictable. (Courtesy Jon Wilsgard, CAO, Town of Golden)

The province thinks the town should be fine, but Wilsgard says there is more ice yet to come out of the canyon.

For now the town is watching the ice, taking measurements and hoping for the best.

A similar ice jam built up on the Goat River near Creston this week.

Google Map: Golden, B.C.


View Larger Map

With files from the CBC's Bob Keating