Residents in Duncan, B.C., cleaning up, assessing damage after flooding

DUNCAN, B.C. — When 17-year-old Kelly Nicholls left his home in the Vancouver Island community of Duncan under an evacuation order on Friday, the water that had flooded the street was just touching the edge of his one-storey house.

A house along Beverly Street still sits in a pool of water

DUNCAN, B.C. — When 17-year-old Kelly Nicholls left his home in the Vancouver Island community of Duncan under an evacuation order on Friday, the water that had flooded the street was just touching the edge of his one-storey house.

By Sunday, the flooding had come and gone, and the Nicholls family was back at the house assessing the damage.

“When we first got out, the water was just seeping in, but at the end of it everything was knee-high,” said Nicholls as his family prepared to start cleaning up.

“Everything’s everywhere, there’s things everywhere, clothes, appliances — it’s just wrecked.”

A combination of heavy rain, melting snow and high tides caused the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers and several creeks to spill their banks on Friday, flooding dozens of homes in Duncan and the surrounding area.

On Sunday, the rain was still falling but most of the flooding had receded as residents gathered at a community meeting to talk about what happens next.

Nicholls said they were told about provincial disaster funding that will be available to help pay for expensive repairs. The province has said it will cover up to 80 per cent of costs after the first $1,000 and up to a maximum of $300,000.

“They said that they were going to pay for most of it, so we’re feeling OK about it,” he said.

The local regional district declared a state of emergency on Friday and initially placed about 300 houses under an evacuation order as water streamed around a network of dikes that were built in the 1960s.

The number of evacuees had since dropped to about 100 homes in Duncan, about an hour’s drive north of Victoria, and the North Cowichan district to the west.

However, people still under the order have been told they can return if they feel it’s safe and the district planned to reassess later in the day on Sunday.

Barry said even after everyone receives the all-clear, some residents will have to wait longer to live in their homes again.

“If you come back to your house and you’re one of the unfortunate ones that the water did get into your house, if it got as high as your bed, you won’t be staying there,” said Joe Barry of the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Barry said locals are in relatively good spirits, and offers of financial support and other help have been pouring in.

There is rain in the forecast over the next few days, but officials aren’t expecting more flooding.

“The river may temporarily rise, but based on current weather forecasts, we don’t anticipate it going back up to flood stage,” the province’s environment minister, Barry Penner, said in an interview.

“It seems like the worst is behind us for now.”

Penner said the amount of rain the area has seen during the past week and the subsequent river levels are unusual for the region, but not unheard of.

“Our records show a similar amount of precipitation, river response back in 1990,” he said. “It’s not common, but also not unknown.”

The North Cowichan district started chlorinating part of its water system on Saturday as a result of the heavy rains and flooding.

The B.C. government said it sent extra equipment to the area to help with the flooding, including about 5,000 sandbags and two large water pumps.

It also provided a helicopter for city crews to use to fly over flooded areas to help better assess the damage.

Just Posted

Maskwacis RCMP seeking suspect in fatal hit and run

A Maskwacis man was fatally injured after being hit early Saturday morning on Hwy 611

Red Deer to get new a plan to end homelessness as the problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

Many Red Deer-area farmers deal with a disastrous year

Dought in the spring, snow at harvest creates bad yields, sends hay prices soaring

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Jeff Bridges to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Globes

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Bridges may have once been considered as one… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Most Read