CRD estimates 120 West Chilcotin properties could have been impacted by flooding

Extent of damage won’t be known until water fully recedes

Around 120 properties could have been impacted by flooding in the West Chilcotin, the Cariboo Regional District confirmed Thursday.

After 100 mm of rain fell in the area over five days, the Chilcotin River below Big Creek, began to rise and peaked at 1170 cubic metres per second on Tuesday, July 9, surpassing 200-year flow levels.

As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, the BC River Forecast Centre was maintaining the flood warning put in place Monday.

“We did a flyover yesterday and based on our mapping we estimated about 120 properties could be affected in the West Chilcotin, excluding the title lands which include Xeni Gwet’in,” CRD communications manager Emily Epp told the Tribune Thursday. “We mapped properties along the Chilcotin River and its tributaries. Obviously, the caveat for that is that it depends on the height of their property, in terms of how much those would be affected so we don’t have any solid numbers on what the damages are per property.”

During the flight it was obvious the waters are receding, which she said is “good news,” but it is apparent there has been very significant agricultural and economical impacts to many people, with lots of damage to hay fields and irrigation channels.

“It will be difficult to fully understand all of those impacts until the water goes down all the way.”

So far the CRD Emergency Operations Centre is aware of one family that may have left home because of the flooding.

The EOC’s plan presently is to support people to stay on their properties.

“Most of the people we saw or talked to through phone or the flight, have higher ground for their main home or a cabin, so we are supporting residents in place,” Epp said.

Road issues continue to be a problem.

“Our goal is to get a better sense of whose access is cut off completely and working with the Ministry of Transportation to determine what the timelines are for how long they may be without access and we are planning how to keep them supported with food and water until they have access again.”

Read more: Several roads remain washed out due to flooding west of Williams Lake

Epp said the Tsilhqot’in National Government have activated their emergency operation centre and the CRD is working very closely with them.

“They are the government authority with the people in the title lands, so that is why my number of the 120 properties doesn’t include the title area,” she explained.

Staff at the CRD EOC continue to be in contact with impacted residents and encourage any who have not heard from the CRD to please call them directly at 1-866-759-4977.

Both an agricultural liaison and a water stewardship liaison from provincial staff are now working out of the EOC as the focus begins to be on recovery, she added.

The liaisons were on the flyover Wednesday.

“We are starting to work on what’s next after the waters recede, what kinds of supports will be in place, and how we can help address the agricultural and economic impacts.”

Read more: VIDEO: Big Creek area access road washed out due to flooding

We have put a request into the TNG EOC for an update

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