City of Port Coquitlam Prepares for Potential Flooding
Annually in May and June, British Columbia experiences a freshet. This occurs due to the combination of heightened precipitation during the Spring season and accumulated snow at higher elevations beginning to melt causing rivers to rise. Currently the City of Port Coquitlam is monitoring the freshet situation and proactively taking steps to prepare for the safety of residents and businesses should flooding occur.
The BC River Forecast Centre is maintaining a High Streamflow Advisory for the lower Fraser River. This means river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.
Water levels are expected to remain high but not overly increase due to the cooler weather patterns forecasted throughout the next one to two weeks. The public is advised to use extreme caution along the rivers and other watercourses as the current may be fast moving or the level may change rapidly.
The City’s response plan includes:
- Preparing and disseminating flooding and flood preparedness information to the public;
- Liaising with other government and utility organizations;
- Developing contingency plans;
- Patrolling and maintaining dikes and pump stations;
- Daily monitoring weather forecasts and river levels; and
- Updating the City’s flood and evacuation plan as necessary.
Port Coquitlam reminds residents that a significant portion of the City is positioned within the Fraser or Pitt River flood plain and protected by dyke infrastructure. The City raised the dike level throughout the community in 2007.
In many ways, preparing for a flood is similar to preparing for any other major emergency, such as an earthquake, power failure or severe storm.
Residents and businesses are encouraged to develop their own emergency preparedness plans in advance of potential emergencies or disasters.
Flood plain maps and flood preparedness resources are available at portcoquitlam.ca/flood. Information about the City’s free emergency preparedness community courses and resources for residents and businesses can be found at portcoquitlam.ca/ep.
Download the Alertable App
Residents can download the Alertable app at any time, and begin receiving Port Coquitlam alerts.
The new service allows subscribers to stay up-to-date with emergency alerts – such as fires, floods, earthquakes, storms and other hazards in the community. The Alertable app can be downloaded for free through the App Store, Google Play or links at portcoquitlam.ca/alertable.
Alertable app notifications can be personalized by type, severity and sound level. The app also does not require widespread user tests, as with other emergency notification systems.
All app users receive Critical Alerts for large-scale emergencies and natural disasters, including evacuation alerts and orders.
Tips for before seasonal flooding events:
- Keep nearby catchbasins clear of debris to help prevent street flooding, and report damaged catchbasins to portcoquitlam.ca/report or the free PoCo Sort & Report app (portcoquitlam.ca/sortreport),
- Move personal items from low-lying areas to prevent loss.
- Move vehicles to street-level parking if parked underground.
- Review and update your personal or family emergency kit and emergency preparedness plan; inclusive of:
- ensuring each family member has identification. For example, name tags on children’s clothing, wallet cards and wristbands are useful in case you are separated;
- reminding family members of your family emergency meeting place and out-of-area contact person; and
- identifying communication channels that you will use to stay apprised of the potential event, e.g. monitoring the City’s social media and downloading the City’s Alertable app to receive life-saving information during an event.
Tips for during seasonal flooding events:
- Limit travel when possible. If absolutely necessary, drive, bike or walk carefully, and do not enter flooded roads or pathways. Watch for debris and use four-way stop procedures at intersections when signals aren’t working. Stay clear of fast-flowing watercourses and potentially unstable riverbanks during high-stream flow periods.
- Check on neighbours who may need help, such as seniors, people with special needs, or families with young children.
- Report flooding, trees of concern, fallen branches or other issues on City property at portcoquitlam.ca/report, by emailing publicworks@
portcoquitlam.ca, calling 604-927-5496 or on the PoCo Sort & Report app. Trees on private property are the owner’s responsibility.
- Report downed power lines to 911 and then BC Hydro: 1-888-POWER-ON. If you come across a downed or damaged power line, stay back at least 10 metres (30 feet).
- Only call 911 when there is imminent danger to people or property, and immediate police or fire assistance is required.
- Call the non-emergency numbers for Coquitlam RCMP (604-945-1550) or Fire & Emergency Services (604-927-5466) when there is no immediate emergency.
For additional information monitor the City’s website and social media accounts (see links at portcoquitlam.ca/connect). For field closure information and updates, visit portcoquitlam.ca/sportsfields or call 604-927-5455 for a recorded message.
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam