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Dangerous tree forces BC Hydro to close public river access

442 Squadron SAR Tech Master Cpl. Alexandre Demers prepares to hoist a stranded swimmer up to a helicopter after the girl struck the log while inner tubing on the river. - Photo by Const. J.K. Clelland/Campbell River RCMP
442 Squadron SAR Tech Master Cpl. Alexandre Demers prepares to hoist a stranded swimmer up to a helicopter after the girl struck the log while inner tubing on the river.
— image credit: Photo by Const. J.K. Clelland/Campbell River RCMP

A shifting river hazard has prompted BC Hydro to restrict access to the Campbell River beside the John Hart Generating Station.

“Public safety is BC Hydro's number one priority,” says Kohle Silverton, spokesperson for BC Hydro. “Effective today (Friday) BC Hydro has closed public access to the Campbell River due to a dangerous tree hazard within the river.”

Last week’s high river flows caused the tree, which has straddled the river all season, to move with the base of the tree swinging out into the river channel.

BC Hydro has been monitoring the situation since the tree fell into the river during the March wind storm. Hydro has been in contact with Destiny River Adventures, BC Parks, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“BC Hydro asks the public to access the river below the tree hazard,” Silverton says. “Should the tree be dislodged, public river access from our property will be restored. Signs will be placed in the John Hart parking lot and on the river access gate. The only river access that will be provided from our property is to Destiny River Adventures.”

Almost two weeks ago a young girl from Germany became trapped on the very same tree.

The girl, who was visiting Campbell River with her family, was tubing along the river when the group struck the tree and were dumped into the water. All but the girl reached shore and 442 Search and Rescue Squadron were called out to hoist the girl off the log.

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