An emergency services inspector and Parry’s RV Park caretaker Jim Mitchell, right, look at floodwaters that remained in the park Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, more than 30 hours after a flood washed through and forced the evacuation of residents. — J.R. Rardon photo

Flood damages Island RV park

Residents begin cleanup as floodwaters recede

Residents evacuated from Parry’s RV Park in Parksville after the nearby Englishman River flooded through late Sunday night began returning to check on their trailers and belongings Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018.

The residents returned to find their homes intact, but extensive damage to the park entrance after floodwaters washed out a culvert and the main entry road, tossing slabs of asphalt and concrete retaining blocks around and ripping out a fence, shrubs and at least one light pole.

Loose items in the park, including lawn furniture, toys, a wheelbarrow and other tools, and even a small boat, were pushed to the end of the property to lodge against the inside of the park’s fence or, in some cases, were carried across Martindale Road to land in the ditch on the other side.

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen,” said Jean Brien, who has lived for 24 years in a trailer home in the park with her husband Ray. “We had a nice day, then it rained and it rained — and we knew it would flood.”

Two inspectors from the Regional District of Nanaimo’s emergency services waded through standing water that remained in the park Tuesday, to assessed the damage and the condition of the dwellings after floodwaters created a new channel that is diverting water directly into the park.

“They’ve just gotta clean up and get rid of the water,” said Jim Mitchell, who has served as caretaker/manager of the park while the owner is overseas. “They’ve gotta stop the water coming in, I guess. They’ve just gotta re-route the water, and it’ll be fine.”

Mitchell said he had “no idea” who would be responsible for diverting water from the new channel and sending it back behind a dike that runs adjacent to the RV park.

Twenty-two residents and eight pets were evacuated by Arrowsmith Search and Rescue overnight Sunday and into Monday morning, Jan. 29, after floodwaters rose well up onto the skirting around the year-round trailer homes.

RELATED: Residents rescued as streams flood in Parksville

“Two men came down here, blowing whistles,” Brien said. “I said, ‘Are we going to be able to stay?’ They said they were going to come and get us because they didn’t know what the water was going to do.”

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue president Nick Rivers told The NEWS Monday that water in some parts of the park reached eight feet in depth during the peak of the flooding.

Brien said rescuers on Sunday night brought a small boat through the gate into her yard, boarded Jean, her husband Ray and their two dogs, then paddled back into the RV park’s flooded laneway to transfer them to a larger boat for evacuation to nearby Stanford Avenue.

Brien said she and her husband finally arrived at a local hotel shortly before 4 a.m. Monday. Assistance and accomodation is being provided by the RDN.

“I want to commend the work of emergency service personnel and volunteers,” RDN chair Bill Veenhof said in a written release. “They have responded quickly and efficiently to the extreme weather situation. We will continue to monitor river levels and the weather forecast, and provide information to the public.”

The RV park is located on a low-lying stretch of Martindale Road that is no stranger to flooding. Brien said overflow from the Englishman River washed over Martindale one week earlier without causing anyone trouble.

“Some of the new people (in the RV park) kind of panicked,” she added. “You can’t explain to them how fast the water comes in.”

Brien returned to her trailer Tuesday to do laundry, but said she and Ray were still being housed at the hotel until RDN emergency services gives the all-clear to return for good.

As to considering moving to a less flood-prone area, she shrugged off the idea.

“No,” she said. “We love it here.”

Notices and alerts will be posted on the regional district website at www.rdn.bc.ca/emergency-services#alert.

Send story tips to:

editor@pqbnews.com

[gps-image name=”10415888_web1_180130-PQN-M-flood-parrys-wheelbarrow-jr-jan30.jpg”]

 

Just Posted

Armada boys drop first game of AAA North Island basketball championships

Alberni faces No. 1 seed Mark Isfeld in Saturday, Feb. 17 morning game

Alberni Armada senior girls play for Island bronze

Girls drop game to SMU, still have a shot at provincial basketball berth

Armada senior girls win first contest at AA Island championships

Hoops team faces SMU in game this evening at Mark Isfeld in Courtenay

Pension delays unacceptable, Courtenay-Alberni MP says

Some retiring vets, RCMP wait ‘months, years’

Valentine’s Day a busy one for Alberni RCMP

Cops deal with 39 calls in one shift, including numerous thefts from vehicles

North Island College opens its doors to Alberni, west coast students

More than 200 Grade 11 students check out programs offered at Alberni campus

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Snow expected to subside Sunday morning

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for east Vancouver Island between Duncan and Nanaimo

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

Most Read