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

Transit Rider Appreciation Day Friday in the Comox Valley

Transit riders in the Comox Valley are invited to enjoy some festive… Continue reading

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

Brent Flahr new Philadelphia Flyers assistant GM

Courtenay resident reunited with Chuck Fletcher in Philadelphia

Comox Valley Food Bank – 35 years of feeding the Valley

The Comox Valley Food Bank turns 35 years old on Dec. 19,… Continue reading

Kingfisher Resort unveils newly renovated Ocean Courtyard Wing

The $2 million renovation was completed at the end of November

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

‘People talk about deep sadness:’ Scientists study climate change grief

Some call it environmental grief, some call it solastalgia — a word coined for a feeling of homesickness when home changes around you.

As protectors abandon Trump, investigation draws closer

Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes.

Senate delays start of sittings in new home, delaying start of broadcasts

The Senate and House of Commons are moving into temporary homes for the next decade as a result of long-planned and badly needed renovations to the Centre Block.

UK leader seeks EU lifeline after surviving confidence vote

EU leaders gather for a two-day summit, beginning Thursday, which will center on the Brexit negotiations.

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Canada West loses battle of the unbeaten teams in the preliminary round

Second Canadian missing in China after questioning by authorities

Michael Spavor, founder of a non-profit that organizes cultural-exchange trips to North Korea, “is presently missing in China”

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

Most Read