B.C. residents return home after mudslide

Residents of two British Columbia communities who were evacuated after heavy rain triggered floods and a mudslide can return home now that the downpour has died down.

VANCOUVER — Residents of two British Columbia communities who were evacuated after heavy rain triggered floods and a mudslide can return home now that the downpour has died down.

About 70 trailers and a dozen homes were evacuated after a mudslide Friday washed out the main road in the village of Port Alice, B.C., on northern Vancouver Island.

In Kingcome Inlet, another of B.C.’s coastal communities, approximately 70 people were airlifted to safety Saturday after flood waters continued to rise.

But RCMP Sgt. Phil Lue said Sunday the region is no longer being pelted with rain and excess water has started to recede.

“Things are a lot better, in a nutshell,” Lue said.

“We in the north island here are used to some rain. I don’t think anybody’s going to argue that. But the amount of rain we did get and the amount of water that was flowing through rivers, streams and creeks (was) phenomenal.”

Lue said residents of both Port Alice and Kingcome Inlet were allowed to return home Sunday.

He said the mudslide is still blocking Port Alice’s primary road but Ministry of Environment officials have determined it’s safe to work around the debris.

The slide was more than four metres tall and 30 metres wide when it roared down an area mountain Friday evening.

The community was without power after the slide, but Lue said it has since been restored for all of Port Alice’s residents. The town’s pulp mill is still trying to get by with generators.

One property sustained minor damage.

Lue said officials flew over the reserve at Kingcome Inlet by helicopter Sunday and the situation was also much improved.

Though some residents still requested they be airlifted out, Lue said any residents who wanted to return home would be permitted to do so.

Meanwhile, a state of emergency was lifted Saturday in the nearby community of Port Hardy, where heavy rain also flooded homes and roads.

No injuries were reported in any of the communities.