British Columbia

Power pole's incredible journey a sobering reminder of B.C.'s devastating floods

A B.C. Hydro power pole from the Interior of the province has washed up on a South Coast beach almost two months after it was swept away in the November floods.

Utility pole swept away by flood water floated almost 400 km down 3 rivers before washing up in Boundary Bay

The B.C. Hydro pole that was swept away in floods from Highway 8 in the B.C. Interior travelled hundreds of kilometres before being spotted on the rocks at Boundary Bay near the Canada-U.S. border. (submitted by BC Hydro)

A B.C. Hydro power pole from the Interior of the province has washed up hundreds of kilometres away on the rocks of Boundary Bay in Tsawwassen, providing a sobering reminder of the catastrophic flooding that devastated parts of British Columbia two months ago .

The pole was spotted on the beach by an off-duty B.C. Hydro employee on Christmas Day. 

By tracing the metal identification plate, officials determined it had floated all the way downriver to the South Coast from the Shackan First Nation community near Merritt — a journey of almost 400 kilometres — after getting swept away by the torrential rains and floods of Nov. 14 and 15.

"We believe that the power pole was swept into the Nicola River, travelled down the Nicola into the Thompson River, past Spences Bridge, all the way down the Fraser River, under the Port Mann Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean. It then bobbed past the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, around Point Roberts and ended up in Boundary Bay," said B.C. Hydro spokesperson Kyle Donaldson.

The intensity of the November storm has been attributed to climate change, delivering over a month's worth of rain to parts of B.C., resulting in widespread devastation of land, roads and property. 

Records show the power pole was installed on Highway 8, which runs alongside the Nicola River, in 2010. Large swaths of Shackan First Nation land and the highway were washed away in the flooding. 

The B.C. Hydro power pole was swept into the Nicola River, down the Thompson River, into the Fraser River before getting spit out into the Pacific Ocean and finding its way to Boundary Bay. (CBC )

Shackan Indian Band Chief Arnold Lampreau described the devastation to CBC on Nov. 25.

"Those lands that we once occupied are somewhere down in Richmond," said Lampreau. "Right now it's really challenging for all of our people."

A total of 87 B.C. Hydro power poles and 14 transformers from Highway 8 were lost to the floods. Sixty of those poles remain unaccounted for. Restoring the corridor for travel and power requires extensive work expected to last into the summer and beyond. 

An aerial view of some of the flood devastation along Highway 8 west of Merritt, B.C. The November storm delivered over a month's worth of rain to parts of B.C., resulting in widespread devastation of land, roads and property. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation)

"It's a really horrible example of the power of Mother Nature and also just the type of devastation that our teams and other emergency teams in other jurisdictions across the province are dealing with as a result of these ongoing weather systems," said Donaldson.

He said B.C. Hydro is keeping an eye on the atmospheric river hitting B.C. on Tuesday. 

"We have a team of meteorologists who are consistently monitoring incoming weather situations 365 days a year. So we do have restoration teams available to head out in the event there are any trouble spots that come up with this incoming weather system that we're expecting." 


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