On Monday Dec. 9 at approximately 5:00pm an ice jam occurred on the Kicking Horse River upriver of the Highway 95 vehicle bridge. Authorities from the Golden and Area Emergency Management Program, the Town of Golden, Ministry of Transportation, Emergency Management BC, RCMP, Golden Fire Department, and Golden & District Search & Rescue are all aware of the situation and presently monitoring the river in partnership.
Water is presently moving though the ice and remaining well within the existing dykes that protect the Town. A river survey was conducted from Golden to Wapta Falls on the morning of Tuesday Dec. 10. The majority of the ice from the lower Kicking Horse Canyon is now resting within the Town boundary. Additional ice located in the upper canyon has been identified and will continue to be monitored.
“Experts representing numerous different levels of government are monitoring the situation,” said Mayor Christina Benty. “Presently the Town does not have any provincial or federal government approvals to move the ice or modify the river and ice flow; however, our emergency management team is working to ensure action can be mobilized if the situation happens to escalate.”
A similar ice jam of this magnitude occurred in December 2005. The present situation bears a striking resemblance to the events documented at that time.
Public safety is a priority and people are encouraged to keep a safe distance from the Kicking Horse River as sudden movements of ice and materials within the river are very possible and unpredictable.
The Golden Emergency Operations centre has been activated to a level 1 capacity. Golden operations are supported by the Provincial Emergency Program’s Southeast Emergency Operations Centre in Nelson which has been activated to monitor a number of ice jams reported throughout the Kootenays.
Additional updates will be provided as the situation changes.