FORT ST. JOHN, B.C – Government officials as well as city officials delivered updates today in the communities that were hit hardest by the BC storm that caused flooding throughout Northern BC.
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED IN DAWSON CREEK
Earlier in the day, Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead declared a local state of emergency after water started to recede late yesterday.
FLOOD VICTIMS ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE
Those impacted by the flood are now eligible to start filling for assistance through the government.
The financial assistance is available to home owners, residential tenants, small business owners, farmers, charitable organizations and local government bodies who were unable to obtain insurance to cover these disaster-related losses. The compensation of each accepted claim covers 80% of total eligible damages between $1,000 and $300,000.
MINISTER BERNIER IN DAWSON CREEK
Minister Mike Bernier is in Dawson Creek viewing the damage first hand. In a conference call today he said the flood damage and waters are the worst he has ever seen.
DAWSON CREEK BREAKS RAINFALL RECORD FOR A SINGLE DAY
On June 15th, Dawson Creek set an all-time record for rain in one day with 89.8 mm. These records go back to 1926.
Chetwynd saw 130 mm of rain over 2 days, while Dawson Creek saw 105 mm.
There are multiple areas where the highways have either been washed out or severely damaged.
Most notably, Highway 97 South, The Pine Pass from Mackenzie Junction up to Chetwynd is still closed.
Highway 52 North from Dawson Creek to Tumbler Ridge is at single lane, alternating traffic.
Highway 2 to Dawson Creek is at 2 lanes with traffic control in place, from the 4 lane standard.
Highway 97 South from Chetwynd to Tumbler Ridge is currently still closed.
Highway 29 is closed in both directions 17 km south of Hudson’s Hope Bridge because of flooding.
Highway 29 is also closed 13km south of Chetywnd because of a washout.
Maria Butts, the Peace Region district manager for the Ministry of Transportation says the Pine Pass has multiple spots that need repairing. Commotion creek, Fisher creek, Hasler creek. Assessment of damage has shown so far it is not as bad as 2011. The government thinks it could be a few weeks before the highway is fully open, however they hope to have single lane traffic flowing within the next week.
MANY HOMES DAMAGED FROM FLOOD WATERS
Primary focus is to get assessments of the damage from flood waters. 2 helicopters did fly overs of areas most impacted by the water. This found that there are approximately 418 properties with damage and 213 properties were found to be stranded with no access. Those people are stuck on their properties until road networks improve.
On June 16th the water rose significantly. Some families were stranded on the wrong side of the flood waters. Main focus was to get them to dry land. 80 people were assisted to relocate until the next step could be taken. City is currently in the process of assessing damages.
12 sites where the city is currently still actively in response. State of emergency was declared Wednesday afternoon. Major damage is Spirit Park, that is beside the CN tracks, which divides Chetwyn in half. Post office bridge is the next area of concern. 2 excavators and 3 trucks working on that site. Nicholson road South has been lost. Crews are working on restoring that road. Water in Chetwynd is fine, however the sewer lines are not. Gravol and rocks are going through the system. Difference between 2011 and 2016, the rain was quicker.
RURAL ROADS ARE BEING LOOKED AFTER
Wide scale assessments are taking place throughout the area. There are significant damages to Rolla road. There is also severe damage between the section connecting highway 2 and highway 49. It is a main corridor and a design plan is already in place to begin repairs.
ADULTS AND BABY RESCUED
Two adults and a baby had to be rescued from Highway 97 when they became trapped. There were nutrition concerns for the baby, who required goat milk. Rescuers were able to provide goat milk to the baby and the adults and baby had somewhere to stay once rescued.