Submitted photo of Russell Farms Market near Crofton where someone was reportedly trapped on the roof Friday night. (Amanda Costin photo)

UPDATED 1 p.m.: State of emergency declared for Cowichan Valley after heavy rain, flooding

Emergency reception centre set up at Cowichan Community Centre

••• 3 p.m. Update

The CVRD has issued it’s final statement of the day. CVRD officials say the local state of emergency will remain in place despite the threat of further flooding having subsided.

That doesn’t mean all roads have been re-opened, however.

“Flaggers are no on scene at several flooded roadways to direct traffic around road closures.”

The emergency reception centre that was set up at the Cowichan Community Centre has closed as nearly all residents using the service have returned home or have sought other accommodation. The centre may re-open if the need arises.

The emergency operations centre shut down at 2:30 p.m. but will reconvene at 9 a.m. Sunday to reassess the situation and give another public update.

Check social media and the CVRD and North Cowichan websites for the latest, as well as the Drive BC, and BC Hydro websites should that information be required.

••• 1 p.m. Update

Cowichan Tribes has declared a local state of emergency in accordance with the CVRD.

Tribes members can call Derek Thompson, General Manager at 250-732-4962 or Alec Johnnie at 250-252-0095 if they need emergency shelter or other help. The Siem Le’lum gym is open for members seeking shelter and warmth.

Those needing help evacuating from their flooded homes are asked to call Darin George 250- 510-5767 or Howie George 250-732-3838.

The Pacific Marine Road (Pacific Marine Circle Route) connecting Honeymoon Bay to Port Renfrew is closed.

Highway Rentals (2935 Sprott Rd.) is offering to help residents in protecting their property with sandbags, available free of charge until 4 p.m. today.

Power outages continue to affect communities across the region. Visit https://www.bchydro.com/power-outages/app/outage-map.html for up-to-date information in that regard.

••• 10:40 a.m. Update Drive BC reports the the highway between Duncan and Chemainus has re-opened. Please expect delays and continue to drive based on the conditions.

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The Cowichan Valley Regional District has declared a state of emergency and activated a Level 2 emergency operations centre as well as an emergency reception centre for evacuees in response to the intense localized flooding in various spots in the region, despite flood waters having receded as of Saturday morning.

The latest update — as of 9 a.m. Saturday morning is that The Trans Canada Highway remains closed north of Duncan for traffic in both directions. Other current roads closures include Westholme Road, Chemainus Road, Canada Avenue, Mary Street and Tzouhalem Road, according to CVRD spokesperson Kris Schumacher.

North Cowichan staffers are standing by at the traffic circle at the base of Lakes Road in the event a flood wall needs to be installed at that location.

Know before you go. Check the Drive BC website for up-to-date road closure information.

Another update is expected by 11:30 a.m.

READ ALSO: Flooding has closed several roads in Cowichan Valley

The water levels in the Koksilah, Chemainus, and Cowichan Rivers peaked overnight from Friday and into the early morning hours of Saturday. Real-time river level and flows can be monitored by residents at www.wateroffice.ec.gc.ca

An “atmospheric river” brought heavy rains with a station at Effingham Inlet, off the west coast, recording nearly 300mm of rain on Friday.

By Friday evening, Chemainus River was above a 5-year flow and still rising as was Cowichan River.

Around 10 p.m. flooding in areas of Crofton resulted in the evacuation of about 23 people. A BC Transit bus was used to bring 18 residents to the Duncan area to stay with friends and family, and the rest were accommodated in Crofton. According to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, evacuations continued into the early morning and at 3 a.m. the Cowichan Community Centre opened as a group lodging and reception centre for about 28 evacuated residents from North Cowichan and the Halalt First Nation.

All four North Cowichan fire halls were in action on Friday night. Crofton was dealing with the flooding and evacuations in their area, with assistance from Chemainus. South End responded to a shed fire on Cowichan Lake Road around 10 p.m., and as soon as they were clear of that site, went to Russell Farms Market at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Mount Sicker Road to help Chemainus crews rescue five individuals who were trapped on the roof as that area flooded. Maple Bay members were staged at the Crofton hall in case further assistance was needed, and the Duncan and Ladysmith halls were also alerted in case the South End or Chemainus halls, respectively, required help.

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, hasn’t seen a night that busy for the four North Cowichan halls since he started his job last March.

“The volunteers and paid on-call firefighters were very good,” he said. “When everybody is pitching in, it’s quite a sight to behold. Once they get going and sharing resources, they’re very well-coordinated.”

Saturday morning CVRD staff were also called to fill their roles at the CVRD’s emergency reception centre at the Cowichan Community Centre as residents from multiple low-lying areas have been evacuated due to the flood.

Residents needing emergency evacuation help should call 911.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Lake Cowichan in the wake of flooding that closed roads and saw homes evacuated Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. (Leslie Schofield photo)

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