The Emergency Management Oceanside (EMO) team is ready for action in Parksville.
Emergency program co-ordinator for Parksville, Aaron Dawson, said that after preparing for the last two days, they have now finished setting up a reception centre at the Parksville Community Centre.
He emphasized that while they are ready, they haven’t been activated.
“Everybody on the Island, all the emergency programs are preparing for what may or may not come with this series of atmospheric rivers,” said Dawson.
The Parksville reception centre is at the point of preparedness that, once volunteers arrive, it would only take 10 minutes to get ready.
“We are also a host community for other communities that are affected that may need support,” said Dawson. “So what would happen is that either the province would get a hold of us and say, ‘we need your support, we’re sending you people.’ If things get worse and people get pushed out, wherever – could be the west coast, north coast, south – or we have our own problems, that could activate us as well. And it could be the Regional District of Nanaimo for one of the electoral areas.”
Dawson said EMO will start a daily conference with the province regarding the potentials of the storm, and what might be coming, starting Monday, Nov. 29. They already receive updates from Environment Canada’s River Forecast Centre to plan accordingly.
The upcoming weekend has created some concerns for EMO.
With the amount of rain that the Parksville Qualicum Beach region, and all of the Island, has received, Dawson said the ground has become saturated, creating uncertainty on where the line of critical concern is drawn.
“Does it take 10 more millimetres of rain? Does it take 20, or 50 millimetres? When is the point that everything changes to just be water and we need to do something?” he said.
He believes as long as the area gets periods of dry weather between storms, Parksville Qualicum Beach should be alright.