POUCE COUPE, B.C. – Pouce Park in Pouce Coupe will officially be reopening today after heavy damage caused by major flooding over two years ago forced the park to close.
Pouce Coupe’s Chief Administrative Officer Chris Leggett said that heavy rains in June 2016 that caused major flooding in Dawson Creek and Chetwynd did not leave his community unscathed. He explained that Bissett Creek, which is normally a quaint waterway, turned into a raging torrent that covered around 75 percent of the park’s seven acres in sand, trees, and debris that was four feet deep.
Put another way, Leggett said the amount of deposited material was the equivalent of 3,000 dump truck loads.
Leggett said that originally, the Village’s Council directed staff to get Pouce Park to its previous operating state – which included the former campground. After initiating a request for proposals for the work, the Village budgeted between $600,000 and $1 million for the park’s restoration.
However, contractors advised the Village that there was no guarantee that the nearby creek wouldn’t swell its banks and inundate the park again, unless a 2-metre seawall was built around the park for an additional $1 million.
Leggett explained that after receiving the news, Village council decided that it would be prudent to not rebuild many of the buildings that used to be located in the park’s campground, which was actually losing around $40,000 per year.
According to Leggett, the Village decided instead to return the park to a usable state, but for day use only. The cost of renewing the park by planting new trees and leveling the piled up sand instead of removing it ended up only costing the district $137,000 – well below the previous estimate of up to $1 million.
Leggett said that the park is once again open to the public, and that the Village will be looking to host a Grand Opening ceremony in the near future, provided the weather cooperates.