B.C. prisoners tapped to help guard flood-stricken communities against high water

Click to play video: 'BC Flood: Barnston Island prepares'
BC Flood: Barnston Island prepares
Residents of Barnston Island, in the Fraser River, are keeping watch on the river. Water levels are expected to rise quickly over the next few days – May 17, 2018

Minimum-security prisoners were among the personnel who were tapped to fill sandbags and help defend Barnston Island against floodwaters on Thursday.

The inmates were driven to the scene in a truck, where they helped to fill bags on an island where people and livestock reside.

CKNW’s Janet Brown snapped a photo of their transport.

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Barnston Island is located in the Fraser River, across the water from Surrey and Pitt Meadows.

Island resident Len Pierre told Global News that the people who live there have a “little bit more concern” than in previous years.

“Lots of people are basically telling us they’re comparing the forecast to the 1940s when we had a really big flood during that time,” he said.

“There’s lots of concern.”

Coverage of B.C. floods on

Barnston Island is home to a reserve of the Katzie First Nation.

That reserve, along with one in Langley, has been placed under an evacuation alert and the community asked for people to come forward and help fill sand bags.

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Volunteers were asked to bring their own shovels and gloves to help fill the bags.

The First Nation was also looking for cooks, drivers and machinery, and help delivering items to Katzie’s three communities.

There was good news, however.

The Fraser River through Surrey has started to subside, dropping as much as a foot since the morning.

As many as 8,000 sandbags were shipped to Barnston Island in the morning on a little ferry that runs there. More were on the way.

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Meanwhile, in Surrey, crews have reinforced a dyke and some connecting streams in the Bridgeview industrial park.

But tenants there are concerned that not enough is being done.

WATCH: BC Flood — Surrey Bridgeview preparations

Click to play video: 'BC Flood: Surrey Bridgeview preparations'
BC Flood: Surrey Bridgeview preparations

Jeff Adams with the Bridgeview strata said the industrial park is largely safe, but sections haven’t quite been protected yet.

“You’re going to need 100 people to do this job as far as putting sandbags out here,” he said.

  • With files from Janet Brown, CKNW

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