MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS1130) – Canadian Forces members from Alberta are on alert as the Fraser River keeps rising.
The province is preparing for flooding by opening a main co-ordination centre, three regional centres in Prince George, Kamloops and Surrey, and 17 municipal centres.
Here in the Lower Mainland, people in Maple Ridge are being told to pack their bags just in case as the Fraser River creeps higher.
Forty-three homes are under an evacuation alert in the area.
The alert likely comes as no surprise for the people in those homes. Fred Armstrong with the District of Maple Ridge says some of them are already dealing with the water.
“People have been getting some seepage into their property and surrounding land. This is an area that has dealt with this historically many times, and so the ground gets saturated.”
Eighteen properties under evacuation order in Abbotsford
The City of Abbotsford has declared a local state of emergency.
People living on 18 properties along the river in Abbotsford are out of their homes for a second day because of the flooding.
In the Glen Valley evacuation area, the water is a couple of feet from washing over River Road and into homes.
Ground water is already causing problems for some. One man who didn’t want to be identified because he wasn’t suppose to be in the area told News1130 that he has to pump out his basement every eight hours.
Authorities told him that he can’t go to his house unless he has permission from the city’s bylaw officers.
Insp. Tom Chelsey with Abbotsford Police says the water has crept up in a few areas.
“Right now there’s water across River Road and a couple areas. One area in Langley, and one area in Abbotsford, and then further down into and Glen Valley.”
Peter Darwin has a trailer off River Road, but he wasn’t told to leave just yet. “I’m just worried about my steaks in the freezer, that’s it, other than that I don’t think it’s going to get that bad really.”
Police are keeping a tight lock on the evacuated neighbourhood as they try to account for anyone choosing to stay in the area.
At Glen Valley Regional Park, search and rescue teams are stationed on the edge of the river, in case anyone gets into trouble.
Evacuees should call the City’s Flood information line at 604-846-5688 to register or report to the Reception Centre, located at Fire Hall #1 at 32270 George Ferguson Way.
The Abbotsford Flood Planning Committee will continue to monitor conditions and give updates.
Water levels also high in Langley
In other parts of the Valley, the Fraser River has peaked. With the weather warming up and some rain in the forecast, river levels are expected to rise and stay high at the Mission gauge Saturday and right through into Monday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of homes are on evacuation alert between Langley and Hope. At least one street in Langley Township is under water.
Farmers in Langley living near the river are doing what they can to save their fields as the river spills onto their land, which could end up costing a lot of money.
The river is 10 feet higher than it normally is in front of Paul Falcon’s farmland, and it is already spilling into his fields. He’s going to move seedlings to higher ground, but would like the township mayor and his MLA Rich Coleman to stop by.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from them. I’m happy if they would come out and actually see some of the damage. I wrote them a dialogue, with all the owners in the area that are affected, and I think we could all try and work together to at least help provide some solutions.”
Falcon says he would like a dike and pumping system for starters.
In Fort Langley, the Fraser River is just a few feet below the deck of the bridge over to the old Albion ferry.
“It’s interesting. It is going to happen eventually. [It happens] every few years,” says one woman who lives in the area.
“I’ve seen it higher, a number of years ago. But it is a bit concerning,” admits another Langley resident.
One spot in Chilliwack under evacuation alert
Three homes in the Carey Point area of Chilliwack have been given evacuation orders. CityTV’s Greg Harper was navigating through Chillwack Friday morning.
“To call it a challenge is an understatement. We almost got stuck going down Ballam Road, as that road has started to take on a lot more water. Parts of it is starting to wash away. You can see the swollen river moving swiftly behind Ballam Road. Also, on McSween Road, there is a vineyard, much of it is now under water,” he describes.
River levels are expected to drop slightly early next week, but could rise again a few days later.