B.C. flood recovery: Owner wading through water daily to take dog out, using floatation devices to save belongings
As a much-needed break in the rain is finally allowing many flood-stricken B.C. communities to slowly begin their recovery, residents are continuing to find creative ways to save their belongings and help their pets.
Much of the South Coast remained under a flood watch or warning Thursday, but water levels appear to be receding in the hard-hit Fraser Valley.
The situation is gradually improving in Mission with water levels remaining somewhat stable.
Sam Molag’s home was one of the properties that was partially swallowed by the overflowing Hatzic Lake for the second time in two weeks.
Multiple times a day, Molag has waded through water to take his dog Tia out. A small swampy patch of grass up the street has become a haven for the aging Border Collie the past few weeks.
Molag said he's thankful that the damage to his house has been minimal.
“In the garage, there's a few things floating around in there right now and I was able to make some floatation devices to carry more things to keep them out of the water," he told CTV News Vancouver.
"So yeah, we got everything off the shelves up high and yeah, just kind of wait and see now.”
Molag also says he think the city "did a great job" supporting residents.
"They supplied a steady stream of sandbags for all of our houses here," he said.
"They've been good for support and keeping everybody informed when they're evacuated and the services that are available for us so it's been helpful."
But 16 homes on Benbow Street on the eastern side of the city remain on evacuation order, and the west side of the city has been plagued by landslides.
One home was damaged and the water supply was compromised in Ruskin, leading to a boil water advisory.
“Things are improving gradually here. While the water levels in the Fraser aren't going down as quickly as we'd like to, mostly things have been stable overnight,” said Mission Mayor Paul Horn.
A mudslide on the Canadian Pacific tracks in Maple Ridge led to the cancellation of train service East of Maple Meadows Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
A bus bridge was put into place between Mission and Coquitlam.
“West Coast Express will resume regular service this afternoon. Trains may be delayed arriving into Port Haney and Mission City Stations due to slower speed requirements through the mudslide area,” TransLink tweeted late Thursday morning.
Hundreds of mobile homes in the Everglades Resort on Hatzic Island are also still under water. Residents here are concerned the culverts running under nearby Highway 7 are not pumping out enough water, something that’s under control of the Fraser Valley Regional District.
River levels are decreasing, but temperatures have been warmer than usual at higher elevations, bringing snowmelt.
The mayor says they’re not out of the woods yet.
“Even though the rain has stopped and the creeks themselves are starting to slow down, there's so much water in the soil, that we're still literally seeing pieces of structures and infrastructure shifting, and we won't know the cost of that for some time to come,” said Horn.
He says he’s proud of the kindness his constituents have shown each other throughout the series of storms.
“We'll also have a lot of learning from this that will affect what we want to do to bolster our systems in the future,” he said.
One of the lessons he hopes residents will take away is the importance of remaining prepared for natural disasters.
Horn declared a local state of emergency for the Benbow Street community earlier this week.
That will remain in effect until Dec. 7, 2021.
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