Almost two months after flooding caused heavy damage, the Othello Tunnels are still in very bad shape.
It seems likely the popular tourist destination will be closed for the entirety of 2022, but BC Parks is not yet ready to make that call. As of Jan. 6, 2022 BC Parks is “confirming that Coquihalla Canyon Park has been heavily impacted during the recent storm events.”
In an emailed response to an inquiry from the Hope Standard, BC Parks said “staff in the Fraser Valley are focused on responding to park-related incidents that directly impact public safety, infrastructure and adjacent homes.”
At the same time, BC Parks said assessment and planning for restoration efforts won’t happen until it’s safe, and no time-frame is provided.
The park has been closed since the flooding, with the public restricted from entering.
A video posted to YouTube by Hope resident Adam Szakall shortly after the flooding in November shows just how much damage was done to the area, which is annually one of the top-10 most visited parks in the province. Massive cinder blocks were knocked out of place by floodwaters. Tree branches and other debris, much of it man-made was strewn about.
Most worrisome, the video shows ground underneath the massive tunnels eroded by water.
The Othello Tunnels were previously closed were a large chunk of 2020 and 2021 due to rock slides and then COVID-19.
Extensive geological testing was required to make sure it was safe to re-open after the slides.