Port Coquitlam Continues To Respond To Flood Events

Port Coquitlam, B.C. – Nov. 26, 2021… With more heavy rain in the forecast, Port Coquitlam continues to take steps to protect the community from potential flooding while offering support to other affected areas.

As soon as the threat of flooding emerged, the City activated its proactive flood-preparation plans that include patrolling and maintaining critical infrastructure and developing contingency plans. Port Coquitlam has also been supporting flooded Fraser Valley communities with loaned staff expertise and a firefighter food drive. 

“We’re thankful to have avoided any major flooding so far and are monitoring the situation around the clock so that we can respond quickly and effectively if the situation changes,” Mayor Brad West said. “We want our community to know that, as a city surrounded by rivers, Port Coquitlam has a well-established plan in place to deal with any emerging flood threats. We’re also happy to lend a hand to support other communities hit hard by the recent flooding.” 

Last week’s intense weather brought some localized flooding at Gate Parks and along the Traboulay PoCo Trail that subsided within a few days.

This week, Port Coquitlam sent two building inspectors trained in rapid damage assessment to the Fraser Valley for three days to assist with inspecting flood-damaged buildings and structures. As one of the City’s emergency planning measures, all Port Coquitlam building officials are certified in rapid damage assessments, which determine the safety of buildings and allow people to return home as quickly as possible.

Port Coquitlam firefighters have also been collecting food donations all week for the Abbotsford food bank. Residents have until Monday Nov. 29 to drop off non-perishable food during store hours at Safeway (2850 Shaughnessy St.) and No Frills (1971 Lougheed Hwy.), or at any time of the day or evening at the black tent at Fire Hall 1 (1725 Broadway St.). 

Recent flood preparation activities to protect the community have included:

  • Ensuring City drainage systems are free from blockages by flushing storm mains and clearing debris from catchbasins, streams and ditches,
  • Checking all City dikes, pumps and other flood infrastructure, 
  • Lowering set points at pump stations to create additional storage capacity, 
  • Fueling up backup generators and preparing auxiliary pumps, 
  • Stockpiling sand, bags and filled sandbags at the Works Yard,
  • Monitoring flood-prone areas and preparing barricades and detour signage, and
  • Lining up staff and contractors for 24/7 callouts.

The City has also been closely monitoring weather forecasts and river levels, liaising with Emergency Management B.C. and other agencies, and preparing and disseminating flood and emergency preparedness information to the public.

A significant proportion of Port Coquitlam is in either the Fraser River or Pitt River flood plain. The City raised the dikes in the community in 2007. 

“Port Coquitlam is constantly on guard for potential flooding given the nature of our geography,” noted Cllr. Darrell Penner, Council’s designate for public works matters. “At the same time, it’s important that local homes and businesses do their part to be prepared.”   

Residents and businesses are encouraged to develop their own emergency preparedness plans. 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.

Tips for before a major storm:

  • 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.
  • Charge devices and rechargeable battery packs before the storm hits. If you have a portable generator, learn how to use it safely and never run it inside the home or in an enclosed space. Battery-operated lighting is safer than candles.
  • Ensure each family member has identification. Name tags on children’s clothing, wallet cards and wristbands are useful in case you are separated. Remind everyone of the location of your family emergency meeting place.  

Tips for during a major storm:

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • During a power outage, limit opening your fridge and freezer to preserve food. If the power is out for an extended period, carefully inspect all food and do not eat anything that may not be safe. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Check on neighbours who may need help, such as seniors, people with special needs, or families with young children. 

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. 

For information about Port Coquitlam’s Emergency Program, contact ep@portcoquitlam.ca or 604-927-5460 or visit portcoquitlam.ca/ep

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MEDIA CONTACTS

Ximena Ibacache
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499
Email ibacachex@portcoquitlam.ca