Fourteen Parksville residents were displaced following flooding along Martindale Road on Saturday, Jan. 2.
Catherine Morrison, an emergency planning co-ordinator with the Regional District of Nanaimo, said the residents were provided hotel accommodations by the Regional District of Nanaimo and Emergency Management BC. She said Martindale Road is within a floodplain, and that residents there are prepared for flooding.
“Their homes are flood-ready and are built on stilts to withstand some of the flood waters. The landowners or property owners are responsible for flood mitigation works on their property.”
While the RDN issued an evacuation alert for Martindale Road, Morrison said the alert is put in place as a preventative measure to allow residents to “get ready” and “prepare early” for potential evacuation orders.
Despite Martindale Road being open since Sunday afternoon, Ken Neden, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) manager, said his crew is still monitoring the area. As recently as Monday morning, a water rescue team member was down at the scene just to confirm that everything was still clear, as safety concerns still remain.
“What really made the flood that much more dangerous was that there would have been melting snow up in the mountains. And that’s all gone now,” said Neden.
According to Neden, what concerned himself and other ASAR members during the evacuation was that while the tide went out, the flood water levels kept rising.
“Normally, when we’ve done flooding in there before, the water usually recedes. But in this case, the tide was going out and the water was actually coming in really quickly,” he said.
As the flooding worsened, he said more and more people decided “it was probably best to get out.” Neden said he’d been told by ASAR team members on scene that the water level was “halfway up their thighs in the park” while they evacuated residents.
The ASAR “sporadically” assists with floods, said Neden, but it truly depends on the weather conditions.
“It’s usually when there’s a combination where there’s been snow up in the hills, and then you get a warming trend, like we got. That’s when you get a lot of flooding,” he said.