By Daniel Betts
The Village of Valemount had a second emergency meeting to assess the developing crisis. It was decided the banks of Swift Creek are “reasonably secure for the night,” according to Andru McCracken, Mayor of Valemount. “we’ll be checking on that throughout the night, we have a couple of teams.” Mayor McCracken noted the water levels in Swift Creek are now down significantly and now only require due diligence. He also noted there will be work performed through the night in an effort to protect the infrastructure related to the weir. As the risk has been reduced, Mayor McCracken felt there was no need for further evacuations.
Mayor McCraken stated there is water available, “but again it is compromised, the sediment is way to high for our filtration system to process.” This means the “Boil Water Order” is still in effect. Mayor McCracken was advised by Northern Health that residents should boil their water for at least two minutes, to ensure any potential harmful micro-organisms in the water are destroyed
In terms of the crisis on the highway and all the stranded visitors in town, the village is putting together a group of volunteers to staff the Visitors Information Centre in order to keep the public bathrooms open and accessible. Other available public washrooms include the outhouses near Swift Creek, public washrooms at the Petro-Canada and public washrooms at Centennial Park. “Suffices to say we are trying to take care of people and were notifying them with a pamphlet so we can get that out there and it is not word of mouth but rather the facts.” Mayor McCracken was informed every available hotel room in town has been taken.
Highway 16 east of the Highway 5 Junction is now scheduled to re-open at 11 p.m. with high confidence. Also, an update will be broadcast on Radio Frequency 104.1 after 10 p.m.