Somass River rising on Sunday, Nov. 16. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Somass River rising on Sunday, Nov. 16. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Flooding concerns continue to plague Alberni area

Homes evacuated, Tseshaht First Nation declares state of emergency as residents watch rising Somass

Last week saw heavy rainfall in the Alberni Valley, which caused Tseshaht First Nation to declare a state of emergency over the weekend due to flooding.

The BC River Forecast Centre issued a High Streamflow Advisory for Sproat River, Somass River and tributaries and areas around Port Alberni on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

By Saturday, Nov. 25, this had been upgraded to a Flood Watch, and by Sunday morning it had been upgraded to a Flood Warning.

Tseshaht First Nation declared a state of emergency on Saturday evening, as home evacuations and sandbagging began. 18 homes were advised of probable flooding, and another 80 homes on reserve were advised of potential long detours due to road closures.

Hugh Braker, the Tseshaht Emergency Preparedness chair, said last Tuesday that he expected to see an event similar to November 2016, when portions of Highway 4 were closed due to flooding.

“I anticipate we’re going to have that again,” said Braker. “We’re just going to have to wait and see.”

The Alberni Valley Regional Airport was also closed on Thursday, Nov. 23 due to flooding.

Doug Holmes, ACRD CAO, said heavy rainfall caused flooding at the intersection of one of the taxiways and the runway.

“There is a little bit of water flooding onto the taxiway and to some degree onto the runway—only about two to three centimetres on the runway,” Holmes said. “The low lying area is full of water and normally there would be a pipe that would empty that drainage and the pipe has lifted.”

City of Port Alberni utilities superintendent Brian Mousley said the city switched water sources from China Creek to the alternate supply at Bainbridge Lake, because of its higher turpidity.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have that alternative,” he said.

Although rivers were expected to peak on Monday, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) predicts another 40mm of rain on Tuesday.

WITH FILES FROM Karly Blats, VI Free Daily


The high waters of the Somass River on Sunday, Nov. 16, as seen from the Orange Bridge. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

The high waters of the Somass River on Sunday, Nov. 16, as seen from the Orange Bridge. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

COURTESY BOB COLE                                 The Sproat River sweep, taken in November 2017.

COURTESY BOB COLE The Sproat River sweep, taken in November 2017.

The Sproat River weir, taken in September 2017. PHOTO COURTESY BOB COLE

The Sproat River weir, taken in September 2017. PHOTO COURTESY BOB COLE

Just Posted

(File photo)
Infringement of rights is in the eye of the beholder

As I expected it would, our IRICE cartoon last week got a… Continue reading

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read