The City has not closed Cottonwood Island Park, but it is closely monitoring the Nechako River, where a two-kilometre ice jam has developed. The General Manager of Public Works Dave Dyer says, in the major ice jam event in 2007, the water was flowing at 200 cubic metres per second, which caused “issues.” The current flows are about 194 cubic metres per second.
However, the river water has cut a channel through Cottonwood Island park to relieve the pressure.
“The main thing that affects everything is the Fraser River,” says Dyer. “The confluence is frozen and restricting the flow into it from the Nechako.”
The ice jam is currently about two kilometres long.
In 2007-2008, the ice jam formed on the Nechako River during a cold snap. It flooded many businesses and homes along the river. That flood event prompted the City to raise River Road to the 200-year flood plain levels, and install pumping stations on the south side of River Road.
It gives some peace of mind to John Brink, whose mill on River Road suffered extensive damage in 2007.
“It puts River Road well above the 200-year and some of the other mitigation stuff they did should prevent flooding as it happened before,” he says. “On the other hand, you never know. Most of the flooding happens under the ground.”
The ice jam of 2007-2008 was ultimately 13 kilometres long.