Months after atmospheric rivers triggered a catastrophic series of landslides and floods a BC Hydro power pole originally located next to the Nicola River has been found hundreds of kilometres away.
BC Hydro says the pole began its life in Merritt but wound up all the way in Boundary Bay after being washed away in flooding along Highway 8 back in November.
The region was impacted by a significant weather system that brought relentless rain and heavy flooding back on Nov. 14 and 15.
The weather destroyed a large section of Highway 8 between Merritt and Spences Bridge, and BC Hydro lost 87 power poles and 14 transformers along the route.
The wayward pole was found on Christmas Day, when a BC Hydro employee was walking along the 12th Avenue dyke in Tsawwassen when they recognized a marked pole washed up on the rocks. BC Hydro verified that the pole was installed in 2010 in the Shackan community along Highway 8 and has been missing since the storm in November.
“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 (Straight of Georgia) before floating around past Tsawwassen and Point Roberts and finally into Boundary Bay” says 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.”
BC Hydro says there are more than 60 poles still unaccounted for from the Highway 8 corridor.
There are now 50 customers without power in Merritt and the surrounding areas, down from 289 on Dec. 6. All of the remaining restorations require extensive reconstruction of Highway 8 and then large-scale rebuilds of distribution lines in new locations. BC Hydro estimates this ongoing work will continue well into the spring or early summer.