Princeton, B.C. residents continue to struggle without water

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: In the aftermath of flooding the community of Princeton now faces new problems' B.C. floods: In the aftermath of flooding the community of Princeton now faces new problems
B.C. floods: In the aftermath of flooding, the community of Princeton now faces new problems – Nov 17, 2021

The Town of Princeton said its water pumps are overheating and failing, which means that water for residents in the downtown core will be shut off.

Much of the rest of town is under a boil water order in the aftermath of flooding.

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“We have a break somewhere in our water main,” Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne said. “We have three river crossings; we’re pretty sure it’s one of them. If it’s not, I’ll be honest, we have no idea where it is if it’s not there.”

Crews worked overnight to keep the pumps running, he added.

On Tuesday, the town said it was experiencing low to no pressure while trying to fill the reservoir, but it was hoping that would change as the reservoir filled. It also asked residents to use water sparingly.

Read more: Heroic horse rescue amid heavy flooding in Merritt, B.C.

Low-lying properties in the downtown area remain under an evacuation order, and officials are asking people to stay away from their properties.

“No one who has been evacuated has been given the go-ahead to return to your homes,” the town said in a Facebook update. “Assessments need to be done first.”

The town said that building assessments will start on Wednesday.

Read more: Abbotsford, B.C. farmers use jet skis, canoes to rescue cattle stranded by floodwaters

However, the town was able to rescind evacuation alerts on Tuesday for the Pines Mobile Home Park area, Plaza Bridge street area and the Tunnel area along the rivers.

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Although the evacuation order hasn’t been rescinded, some people did return to their properties after the flooding to find missing pets and assess the damage.

Local resident Erin Traverse said it took her family about 10 minutes to leave their home in a panic when the flooding happened Sunday night.

“The door blew and a torrent came in,” she said. “I just caught a glance of it, and I beat it up the stairs.

Returning the next day was devastating for the family, although they were able to find their chicken, Blackberry, who survived.

“When we open the basement door, everything is just floating: so that’s Christmas, sentimental, photos,” Traverse said.

Read more: Shoppers in B.C.’s Okanagan worry about food shortages amid floods, highway closures

Traverse said she was told to try to mitigate the damage herself when she called insurance for help.

“The town is cut off, an independent insurance adjustor can’t come to even look,” she said. “And neither could restoration people, they can’t get here yet.”

Leo Bice said he works for the Princeton Family Services Society.

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“I know a lot of people that are displaced already, and now we have a natural disaster occurring, which is causing even more stress on our already-stressed system,” he said. “It’s tough.”

Read more: ‘It’s a team effort’ — Princeton, B.C., working through complications of mud and water

He said he’s grateful his family is safe, but it was difficult seeing the damage to his own home.

“The magnitude of the situation really just sunk in,” he said. “I was just shocked at it. I had all my daughter’s art up on the wall.

“Everything is ruined. It was tear-jerking. It’s kind of hard to talk about.”

Click to play video: 'Princeton residents assess damage' Princeton residents assess damage
Princeton residents assess damage – Nov 16, 2021

The town remains under a state of local emergency.

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