The Cowichan Valley Regional District has declared a state of local emergency last night for the region, as widespread flooding forced resident evacuations and cuts off key transportation corridors.
At approximately 10 p.m. on Jan. 31, flooding in areas of Crofton, a community in the Municipality of North Cowichan, resulted in the evacuation of approximately 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. Evacuations continued into the early morning and at 3 a.m. the Cowichan Community Centre was opened as a group lodging and reception centre. The centre is currently hosting approximately 28 evacuated residents from North Cowichan and the Halalt First Nation.
At this time the Trans-Canada Highway is closed one kilometer south of the Chemainus River Bridge in both directions, as water crossing the highway has made it impassable. Flooding has also closed Westholme Road and Chemainus Road, and there is currently no alternative route for north and south bound traffic.
Significant flooding is also occurring on Tzouhalem Road at the corner of Lakes Road. Operations staff from North Cowichan are currently installing a flood wall at the bottom of the Lakes Road hill, which may also restrict traffic flows.
Residents are asked to monitor the Drive BC website for up to date road conditions and closures, and be prepared to leave their homes if their neighbourhood is affected by flooding.
There will be an update this morning.