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The City of Merritt has implemented its Flood Prevention Plan by laying sand bags along the Nicola River on Voght Street in anticipation of warmer weather and rising water.
Between Monday and Tuesday, firefighters and Public Works crew members spent 10 hours filling 8,000 sand bags.
A portion of these were used along Voght Street and others will be placed along other previously identified areas of the Nicola River to proactively protect the city from flooding, said Merritt Fire Chief Dave Tomkinson.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources advised the city that crews will continue to maintain the Nicola River at near bank-full level throughout the city, according to a press release issued Tuesday. This will create flood storage in Nicola Lake, in anticipation of the current weather trend, explains the release.
"Basically, the ministry is going to maintain the Nicola River where it is now to hopefully draw down the lake level," said Tomkinson. "They are anticipating a lot of melt water coming in, which will cause the lake to rise."
Tomkinson said the city monitors water levels and communicates with the ministry on a daily basis.
"We're taking proactive measures and implementing our Flood Prevention Plan," he said.
In addition to the sand bags already placed, local crews will be creating berms from sand bags and earth like last year.
Residents can protect their property by following advice offered on the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program website www.pep.bc.ca.
The city urges people living along the Nicola River or travelling through the area to be alert for potentially damaging flows or obstructions, which should be reported to City Hall at 250-378-4224.