Kicking Horse River ice jam threatens to flood Golden, B.C.
Long-term solutions needed to seasonal flooding concerns
Residents of Golden, B.C. are once again anxiously watching the ice pack on the Kicking Horse River through town, hoping it won't cause flooding.
Ice flowing from the Rockies has backed up the river right in the heart of town and is close to breaching its banks. However, as of 12:30 p.m. PT on Dec. 4, all the ice was within the walls of the existing dykes.
"Heavy equipment is presently working at the Kicking Horse and Columbia River confluence," said Mayor Ron Oszust in a press release.
"This work is being conducted to help relieve the ice jam and open channels for material movement. These efforts, combined with the anticipated warming trends in the forecast, are expected to help move the current ice buildup within the dyke walls."
Town spokesperson Jordan Petrovics says, so far, only one alley has been closed, and crews are using a back hoe and temporary ice dikes to try and keep the river from spilling into downtown.
"The concern right now is a breach of the diking and potentially some small scale flooding," says Petrovics.
The flooding is an ongoing concern every spring and fall when chunks of ice drift out of the Rocky mountains then jam up the Kicking Horse river right in the heart of town.
"In years previous we've had chunks of ice come down the size of vehicles," says Petrovics.
But this year the ice chunks are ground-up frazil — a particular kind of needle-shaped ice crystal — and that backs up the Kicking Horse even more.
Petrovics says what is really needed is a long-term fix.
"At a political level our council is working with the province to change the regulations and help up protect the community better," he says.
In the meantime, the residents are hoping the weather helps out and they get through this without flooding — until next spring, when chances are pretty good it'll happen again.
With files from Bob Keating