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Canadian Armed Forces will be rolling into Chilliwack, says mayor

Promise of military help confirmed in conversation Chilliwack mayor had with Prime Minister Trudeau
The view from near Chilliwack towards Abbotsford on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The Canadian military is ready to roll in to help flood-ravaged B.C. communities like Chilliwack.

“Yes, they will be rolling in,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove, at a press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 17, but he added he did not know when.

The promise of federal help for B.C., like transport of evacuees, was made in a Tweet by Defence Minister Anita Anand. It was confirmed in a conversation Popove had with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday night, he said.

RELATED: Feds promise military aide ASAP

At this point the only part of Chilliwack still at risk of further flooding is Yarrow.

It’s the situation with the Barrowtown pump station in Abbotsford that continues to threaten Yarrow with further flooding, and that is why the evacuation order is remaining in place.

“At this point, flooding from Sumas Prairie into Yarrow is limited but staff are continuing to review the status of the Nooksack River, local drainage systems, and Barrowtown pump station,” Popove said.

City staff are currently analyzing possible flooding impacts should the Barrowtown pump station fail, specifically how it would affect Yarrow.

“At this time, the evacuation order remains in effect for the community of Yarrow and Majuba Hill,” the mayor said.

Although the Barrowtown pump station is an Abbotsford asset, it is currently only accessible from the Chilliwack side, which allowed more than 200 volunteers from Chilliwack to help sand-bagging efforts Tuesday night.

City staff and volunteers built a 25-metre long sand-bag wall to protect the pump station. Local business owners and contractors also donated time, equipment and material to help protect the site.

“The amazing efforts of Chilliwack residents and staff made a significant impact on flood efforts last night,” said Popove. “In an emergency situation, it is important for neighbours to help each other out, and that’s exactly what Chilliwack has been doing for Abbotsford throughout this emergency situation.”

Even though it’s in Abbotsford, the Barrowtown pump station plays an important role in flood protection for the Yarrow area.

“Chilliwack city staff will continue to closely monitor the status of the Barrowtown pump station, because if it stops operating, water levels would back up and cause additional flooding in Sumas Prairie and Yarrow.”

Chilliwack Emergency Operations Centre will continue to monitor the situation closely and connect with other local and provincial authorities.

Residents are reminded that the evacuation order is still in effect for Yarrow and Majuba Hill and that access to those areas will only be permitted for emergency personnel. The RCMP continues to patrol the area.

Motorists are asked to continue to respect road closures and drive cautiously, as many still have standing water or debris.

Updates will at as information becomes available.

RELATED: Chilliwack helped sand-bag Barrowtown pump station

RELATED: Yarrow residents evacuated

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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