Cold snap puts freeze on Fraser River businesses
Published Friday, December 19, 2008 6:22PM PST
A clear day would usually signal ideal flying conditions, but not when the icy Fraser River is your runway.
"When there's big chunks of ice flowing down the river, it's not real safe to be able to take off and land," says pilot Leslee Probasco.
The freezing temperatures gripping B.C.'s south coast are getting a cool reception at a Fort Langley float plane company.
"We can't fly," says John Ferguson of Fort Langley Air Ltd. "The floats won't take the ice. It will tear them apart. And with the cold below freezing temperatures, all our controls, water controls start to ice up and we can't move them."
The company was booked-up with training flights this week, but they haven't been able to get airborne since Saturday.
"It's putting a big crimp in our operation," says Ferguson.
The ice chunks aren't stopping tugboats from operating -- at least not yet.
"It's difficult and safety is an issue for the crew," says John Bowles of Harken Towing.
However, it has left the water taxis tied to the dock.
"The ice is creating a lot of problems for the cooling on the vessels," says Bowles. "The ice creates slush along the surface of the water and plugs up our intakes for the cooling."
It may become a critical situation if conditions don't improve.
"If it continues on, it will mean that some people probably won't be able to keep working," he says.
The Albion Ferry, which had to shut down earlier this week, was only running one vessel Friday.
Officials are closely watching the ice - so too are business owners that depend on the river.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro