A perennial trouble spot in Parksville left a number of people stuck in their homes or neighbourhood during heavy rain last week.
“Martindale flooded this morning,” Parksville deputy fire chief Marc Norris said on Thursday monring. “We took an occupant out of a motor vehicle that was trapped in the flooding,” he said of a call at 4:30 a.m.
He said the resident of Parrys RV Park on Martindale Road, “was alerted that it was starting to flood,” and she decided to drive out.
“She came from the RV park, right in the dip there, the deepest part,” said Arrowsmith Search and Rescue’s Ken Neden, who picked up the story after they were called in with their water team.
“By the time we got there the vehicle was about half covered — it was over three feet deep,” he said. “A guy was wading through and it was over his waist.”
More than two dozen members responded from the fire department and search and rescue and the woman was taken out without further indecent, but residents point out the flooding is predictable and call for something to be done about it.
“Every time it rains we can’t be putting people’s lives and property in danger,” Joe Stanhope, RDN director for the area and board chair at the time of similar flooding last winter, said in December of 2014.
“Martindale Road is in my area and I’m going to deal with it,” he said, admitting at the time he didn’t know what their responsibility was.
The road — on the east side of Parksville — does fall within the Regional District of Nanaimo, rather than the city, but it is actually the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Transportation, explained Tom Armet, RDN manager building, bylaw and emergency planning.
“We don’t have jurisdiction to deal with chronic spots like Martindale where the Englishman River rises and runs through Parrys RV Park,” he said, adding that there are a number of spots in the RDN prone to flooding.
“Our role is to co-ordinate the emergency response,” he said, which includes “working with property owners to mitigate the effects,” which they have done in the RV park, he said.
He said they are in regular contact with property owners in the area, making sure they are aware of the situation and helping them plan for evacuation or the ability to wait out the water, which he said generally subsides quickly.
“We refresh emergency preparedness packages for the people in the area,” he said.
“We maintain current information on those folks who choose to live in a flood prone area.”
Stories in The NEWS about Martindale Road residents requesting help from some level of government date back to at least 2005.
New RDN chair Bill Veenhof said Parrys is a “bit of a unique case,” explaining the owner and provincial government have been communicating for years and his understanding is that six residents have chosen to raise their trailers rather than move out.
He reiterated that road issues are provincial government or road maintenance company Emcon’s responsibility within the RDN. Residents should contact them first, “and of course they’re free to call their (RDN) area director if they don’t get any answers.”
For now the immediate risk has passed, with less rain forecast in the near future. Parksville and RDN staff have previously explained the Martindale flooding occurs when heavy rain corresponds with high tide, backing the Englishman River up to spill its bank.
— with files from Candace Wu