UPDATE: Martindale Road reported open Sunday afternoon, after being closed due to flooding.
Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews are evacuating residents along Martindale Road in Parksville due to heavy flooding on Saturday (Jan. 2).
The Regional District of Nanaimo issued an evacuation alert for 380 Martindale Rd., as flood waters have breached the banks of the Englishman River.
ASAR manager Ken Neden said the road is not passable in either direction, as the water is approximately one metre deep.
“The road is currently cut off and flooded right now,” said Neden. “We have swift water team members in and around various trailer parks if anybody needs to be evacuated at this point. We brought some people out.”
Rescue crews were called by the RDN to attend Martindale Road at around 10 a.m. They have been monitoring the water since then and have blocked the road to keep motorists from entering. There is only one way in and out of the area.
Jean Brien, one of the residents evacuated, said the flooding in the area, located near the orange bridge in Parksville, is a regular occurrence.
“This is nothing new to me,” said Brien, who will be put up in a hotel by the RDN. “It happened last February and the water was about four feet deep. We were told to leave now because they are expecting the water to rise. They wanted us out now rather than later in the dark. I just wished I wore something warmer. I didn’t expect it to be that cold.”
Neden said there were eight to 10 residents willing to leave their residences but there some who indicated that they will be OK in their homes.
“They will be cut off because vehicles won’t be able to go through until the flooding clears later tonight,” said Neden. “In this area, the tides affect the water level quite a bit.”
There are also flooding incidents in Errington and Little Qualicum Falls areas that the ASAR attended. Neden said Martindale Road is always hit hard.
The RDN advises residents near the Englishman River to be wary of the rising water.
Emergency Info B.C. shared a warning from the River Forecast Centre, noting high streamflow advisories have now been upgraded to a flood watch for the east coast of Vancouver Island including the Nanaimo River, Englishman River and surrounding tributaries.
Flooding at Martindale Road in Parksville. Arrowsmith Search and Rescue are on stand-by to provide assistance in case of emergency as the road is not passale at the moment! @ParksvilleNews pic.twitter.com/Ll7IYJYw79
— michael briones (@MikeBrionesJr) January 2, 2021
The River Forecast Centre notes that the end of 2020 and the start of 2021 are “an active period for storm systems on Vancouver Island and the south coast,” and noting that as of Saturday afternoon, upwards of 90 millimetres of rain had fallen in Bowser over the previous 24-hour span.
“Rivers are responding to this rainfall, with rapid rises being observed through Saturday morning,” the centre notes, adding that the rivers are forecast to reach their highest flows late Saturday or overnight Sunday.
The centre advises residents to stay clear of fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks.
A flood watch is an intermediate-level advisory between a high streamflow advisory and a flood warning.
— With files from Black Press