The floodgates at Barrowtown Pump Station have been opened, the City of Chilliwack has announced.
The Fraser River water levels dropped enough to allow the gates to be opened 1:49 a.m., Nov. 20, releasing massive amounts of floodwater from the Sumas River, said the City of Chilliwack on social media.
“Staff received word that the Fraser River was low enough for the City of Abbotsford to open their flood gates this morning,” the city stated.
Two Chilliwack councillors, Chris Kloot and Jason Lum, both posted to social media this morning stating the floodgates had been opened.
Abbotsford city staff and their emergency partners have been anxiously waiting for the water levels to drop to relieve pressure on the pump station that was almost breached on Tuesday night.
The water levels in Fraser River needed to be a foot below the Sumas River in order for this to occur.
“The minute that happens, we’re opening them up, which will really contribute to letting a lot of that water out – seven times more, actually, than the pump system we already have,” said Abbotsford’s Mayor Henry Braun on Nov. 19.
Braun spoke at a news conference on Nov. 20, saying that a little over 50 per cent of repair work on the Sumas dyke has been completed with a focus on the larger breaches near Marion and No. 4 Road.
The Canadian Armed forces have deployed 119 soldiers to Abbotsford to assist in flood mitigation efforts, as well as providing air support to move people and supplies around flooded areas.
Braun expressed concern about additional stormy weather that is set to begin Monday (Nov 22). He noted that while today brings good news with the opening of the floodgates, farms in the eastern corner of Sumas Prairie near the Vedder Canal still experienced rising water last night. Some 2,500 dairy cows are in the area and efforts may need to be taken to evacuate them if conditions worsen.