November floods take hydro pole on ‘epic journey’ from B.C. Interior to U.S. border

Click to play video: 'Missing hydro pole from B.C. Interior found in Tsawwassen'
Missing hydro pole from B.C. Interior found in Tsawwassen
WATCH: A missing BC Hydro pole from near the Nicola River has been located hundreds of kilometres away – Jan 11, 2022

A power pole that went missing in the catastrophic floods of November has been recovered hundreds of kilometres away from where it first stood — an “epic journey,” according to BC Hydro.

The pole, originally located next to the Nicola River, was found in Boundary Bay by the border between the United States and Canada, the utility said in a Tuesday news release.

“The pole would’ve made the epic journey down the Nicola River, past Spences Bridge, into the Thompson River, down the Fraser River and into the Pacific Ocean (Strait of Georgia) before floating around past Tsawwassen and Point Roberts and finally into Boundary Bay,” said Kyle Donaldson, BC Hydro spokesperson.

“The pole itself is broken. And for it to have travelled the way it did, speaks to the severity of this flooding event.”

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A broken power pole that was swept away by record-breaking floods on Nov. 14 and 15, 2021, has been found in Boundary Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from where it was stationed. BC Hydro

On Nov. 14 and 15, 2021, southern B.C. was pounded by record-breaking rainfall that led to devastating floods and deadly mudslides. Five people died in the disaster, thousands were displaced and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage was done to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure.

The weather destroyed a large section of Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge, said BC Hydro, resulting in the loss of 87 power poles and 14 transformers along the route.

In the release, the utility said one of its employeers was walking along the 12th Avenue dyke in Tsawwassen when they recognized a marked pole washed up along the rocks. BC Hydro was able to verify that the pole was installed in 2010 in the Shackan community along Highway 8, and had been missing since the storm.

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Click to play video: 'All eyes on Fraser Valley as atmospheric river to bring heavy rain to B.C.’s South Coast'
All eyes on Fraser Valley as atmospheric river to bring heavy rain to B.C.’s South Coast

BC Hydro said more than 60 poles are still unaccounted for along the Highway 8 corridor, and 50 customers remain without power in Merritt and the surrounding areas.

“All of the remaining restorations require extensive reconstruction of Highway 8 and then large scale rebuilds of distribution lines in new locations,” said the release.

“BC Hydro estimates this ongoing work will continue well into the spring or early summer.”

A complete damage assessment for the B.C. floods has not yet been completed, but the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s initial estimate of the insured damage alone is $450 million.

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