B.C. flooding news Thursday: Communities brace for floods, military on its way
Communities along the Fraser River are holding their breath as water levels are set to peak Thursday. A number of evacuation alerts and orders have been issued as water continues to rise on the river.
Regional parks and trails have been closed. Animals are also being taken to higher ground.
Residents on Barnston Island say they are prepared but nervous for what could be the highest river levels in 70 years.
“Worst case, if everything goes bad, 1948 water levels, which would be catastrophic,” Katzie First Nation councillor Peter James told Global News. “It would be lapping the top of the dyke here, it would not be good.”
WATCH: Fraser River communities on edge:
Here are the following closures in the area of Barnston Island:
- Derby Reach Regional Park: Campground full closure in effect
- Matsqui Trail Regional Park: All lower trails and parking lot closed
- Kanaka Creek Regional Park: Canoe launch closed, lower fish fence closed, closed lower level of viewing tower
- Barnston Island Regional Park: Park closed and evacuation alert issued
- Surrey Bend Regional Park: Pacific Trail closed and lower toilets
- Brae Island Regional Park: Signs posted and partial trail closures. (Evacuation alert from Township of Langley)
- Pitt River Greenway: Signs posted and dike trail at train underpass closed by City of Pitt Meadows
- Deas Island Regional Park: Partial trail closures
WATCH: Barnston Island now under evacuation alert
Another neighbourhood keeping an eye on the rising water is Surrey’s Bridgeview community.
Officials were chatting to locals at a town hall Wednesday night, answering any questions or concerns. Bridgeview is protected by a dike and while crews were out last weekend reinforcing it, officials say people still need to be ready.
“The Mission level is around 5.7 metres, forecasted to go to 6.6 metres,” says Jeff Arason with the City of Surrey. “Our dike can handle 8.5 metres and we’re some time away from that. We just want to make sure they understand what levels and level protection we have for them.”
The Katzie First Nation is asking for volunteers to help fill sandbags.
Minimum security prisoners are also helping fill sandbags and were brought in Thursday morning.
Evacuation Alerts were issued for three more locations in the Town of Osoyoos, said a release on Friday afternoon.
They cover units on Cottonwood Drive, Crabapple Court, Lakeshore Drive and Spartan Drive.
Federal funding is on the way to help with the already historic flooding and not a day too soon for people in Grand Forks.
A tiger dam has been installed through much of the downtown core in hopes of diverting water from businesses. Others are reinforcing their flood protections ahead of an expected second round of water.
At least 1,500 homes in the Kootenay Boundary region remain evacuated.
Residents of the south Ruckle neighbourhood are being given temporary access permits early Thursday to do some last-minute flooding preps and collect a few valuables. They will then have to leave their homes once again.
Schools in School District 51, Boundary, will also be closed Thursday due to the potential flooding. School buses will also not be running.
Federal assistance, military on the way
The federal government has committed to assisting British Columbia during its historic flood fight.
Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, acknowledged the commitment Wednesday night on social media.
“Received an official Request for federal assistance this afternoon from BC Pub Safety Min Mike @mikefarnworthbc – to help deal with serious flooding,” the message on Goodale’s Twitter account said. “Response is YES.”
The province also says it will match flood donations.
Premier John Horgan announced the government will match Red Cross donations dollar for dollar, up to $20 million.
He toured the flooding on the Fraser River Wednesday alongside Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and other politicians.
WATCH: Evacuation alerts spread to Metro Vancouver:
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