High water closes Little Red River Park

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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The North Saskatchewan River began backing up into Little Red River Park’s namesake river on Thursday, forcing its temporary closure.

 

“Let’s be more safe than sorry with some of the conditions we’re experiencing out there,” community services director Jody Boulet explained of the decision.

Although the park spent much of last year’s prime summer weather closed as a result of floodwater flowing down Little Red River, this week’s closure isn’t as daunting.

“A lot of the forecasts we’re getting right now from water security agencies isn’t that it’s going to be a major issue,” Boulet said.

“It’s what we anticipate will be a short term issue, and looking at the forecast, now, for the weekend -- today going into the weekend -- we don’t anticipate they’ll be a high number of people wanting to go into the park, just due to the conditions we’re going to have here over the next few days.”

Even though demand to use the park isn’t high, Boulet said that after touring the park, he’s happier seeing the city err on the side of caution.

“Where some of the water comes up over the banks it’s hard to see where the actual drop-off is, so maybe you’re curious, wander into the water a little bit and bam -- you hit the edge and you’re in the river,” Boulet said.

“We just want to prevent those kinds of cases.”

The North Saskatchewan River appeared to be slowing down by 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at 1,419.3 cubic meters per second -- slightly below its peak flow measured a few hours previous.

However, by about 10:30 a.m. the Water Security Agency measured a flow of 1,611.2 cubic meters per second.

Average flow for this time of year is less than 500 cubic meters per second.

“We’ll monitor it through today and tomorrow, and if anything changes before the weekend we’ll take that restriction off,” Boulet said.

“But, we do anticipate it to last, here, for the next three or four days at least, which of course puts us through the weekend.”

Prince Albert’s stretch of the North Saskatchewan River saw its ice breakup on Tuesday, after which the Water Security Agency warned that ice jams are a possibility in the area.

The city’s acting fire chief Jason Everitt has warned the public to keep clear of the ice, noting, “If someone does break through or get caught under that ice or get swept under there’s nothing we can do.”

The Daily Herald will continue to follow this story as it develops. 

Geographic location: Little Red River Park, North Saskatchewan River

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