By Steve Hubrecht
steve@columbiavalleypioneer.com

The Ray Brydon Park in Athalmer has been closed for awhile, stemming from an ice dam that formed on Toby Creek just beside the park.

“We had rising water conditions. Things froze up pretty tight,” Invermere Mayor, Al Miller, told the Pioneer. “We had the issue of water coming up in the dog park, and we wanted to keep people safe. That’s why we closed the park.”

The District of Invermere applied for emergency funding through Emergency Management B.C. (EMBC) “as soon as it looked like it was going to flood,” added Miller.

The funding was granted and the district immediately got to work, with staff using heavy machinery to break apart the ice jam, and let the water level settle down again.

“They were working down there for three days,” said Miller. Although the ice dam has been removed, the park was still closed as of press time. “It will open up again as soon as it’s safe,” said Miller. “It’s really a precautionary thing. We don’t want anybody hurt.”

A similar ice dam on Toby Creek caused a flood in Athalmer in the winter of 2017.

Miller offered assurances to any local residents worried about a possible flooding of the district sewage lagoons (which are located in the low-lying parts of Athalmer near Toby Creek) that “we certainly make sure the dikes there are in good order. Obviously we wouldn’t want anything to interfere with our lagoons, so those dikes are kept in really good shape.”