Bonsall Creek at the back of Tussie Road looks calm on the day before the latest atmospheric river arrived, but frequently floods into the Penelakut community. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Bonsall Creek at the back of Tussie Road looks calm on the day before the latest atmospheric river arrived, but frequently floods into the Penelakut community. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Flood prevention a common bond

Supporting each other keeps the community strong

It’s wonderful but not at all surprising how people from one end of the region to the other have banded together to help mitigate the potential damage from three atmospheric rivers in a little more than a week.

The effects were still being felt from the first massive storm that started the sequence back on Nov. 14-15, but folks remained resilient in their efforts to support each other and protect property.

It hasn’t been an easy task. Filling and piling sandbags is onerous, but many hands clearly make lighter work.

It also helps to have a sense of humour. France Bournazel, facing another flood possibility at Russell Farm Market and Katie Farm, said she’s going to wind up with a sexy body after all this hard work.

She also lost countless crops in the latest round of field flooding, but managed to salvage some carrots. So now Bournazel can make some juicy carrots with the remnants as a healthy choice for those so inclined.

Joe Seward over at the Penelakut Tribe land on Tussie Road has been a tower of strength for residents there, taking charge of the community of 27 homes to ensure everyone receives the needed support to improve the chances of holding the flood waters at bay.

It was nice to see a literal army of volunteers at the site and also at the nearby Halalt First Nation land, with Canadian Armed Forces personnel from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) based in Edmonton, to assist with sandbagging. These guys and women are obviously in great shape and when put to the test, they get it done.

After that, Seward was overseeing a contingent of Khowutzun Forest Services, Emergency Management BC and Carmanah Wildfire representatives doing sandbagging and erecting both a Tiger Dam and Hesco bags to construct a wall as temporary fixes.

Westholme has been hardest hit, but areas all along the Chemainus River are threatened and other creeks and nearby streams are staying at unprecedented high levels.

This extreme weather is definitely getting scary and, not to be alarmist, but concerned people like Seward are also realists, looking at the calendar. “It’s going to be a long winter,” he said.

B.C. Floods 2021Commmunity