Cottonwood Farm on Ferguson Road was one of the worst properties affected by the storms and flooding in the Alberni Valley.
“The water was up to my neck,” said owner Jen Carter.
The flood water devastated the sheep farm, strewing firewood, hay and other debris all over the grounds and into the property’s ponds.
“I had eight cords of firewood and it’s just everywhere,” Carter said. “I have to rebuild all the fences so I have to get the firewood picked up.”
Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone.
Once the severity of the storm became clear, a group of Port Alberni residents came together to help out those worst affected.
Linda Fischer runs the Facebook group “Port Alberni Volunteer Aid and Info,” who coordinated their first cleanup effort at Carter’s farm on Sunday, Dec. 14.
“The site started because of the floods to try and gather volunteers,” she said, adding that the site will also help “people get together if we have another disaster and maybe start organizing groups right away.”
Most of the volunteers gathered up firewood but a couple cleaned up debris that piled up in the sheep barn so that the farm’s pregnant sheep had a place to give birth.
So far, the group has helped out Carter and members of the Tseshaht First Nation.
“We gave over $300 worth of food to Tseshaht for the volunteers and sent volunteers up there,” Fischer said, adding that while no one else has contacted the group yet, they’re eager for both more cleanup projects and volunteers.
“Anybody who has time to volunteer.”
To help out with the cleanup effort, search for “Port Alberni Volunteer Aid and Info” on Facebook.