Justin Trudeau flying to B.C. Friday to visit flood-ravaged Abbotsford
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is flying into British Columbia on Friday to visit the flood-ravaged Fraser Valley community of Abbotsford, which remains partially underwater as more atmospheric rivers head toward the province.
Trudeau is scheduled to meet with Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth, Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver and Matsqui First Nation Chief Alice McKay when he touches down in the community, according to his itinerary.
He's also expected to meet with Canadian Armed Forces members who have been helping with B.C.'s flood response and storm preparation, as well as first responders and volunteers.
The itinerary doesn't specify when the prime minister is expected to arrive in Abbotsford. He's first scheduled to visit Montreal and meet that city's mayor at 8:45 a.m.
After leaving the Fraser Valley, Trudeau is expected to head for Victoria to meet Premier John Horgan, who was recently diagnosed with throat cancer but has remained on the job.
The two leaders are scheduled to hold a joint media availability at 5:30 p.m.
Much work has been done to reopen B.C. highways and clean up flood-impacted communities since last week's historic storm, but there is still a long road to recovery.
On Thursday, the province revealed the busy Coquihalla Highway, which was damaged or washed away at about 20 different points, isn't expected to reopen until late January.
Abbotsford officials also estimated it will be weeks before the remaining floodwater is pumped out of the eastern Sumas Prairie.
Mayor Braun said crews have been working hard to brace for more wet weather, but noted there are ongoing concerns around the Nooksack River, located outside B.C.'s jurisdiction in Washington state. Flooding from that river is said to have severely exacerbated the situation in Abbotsford last week.
A less severe storm reached B.C.'s South Coast on Thursday, and two more are expected over the coming days. Officials have said the one forecast to arrive on Tuesday will be the worst of the three.