Three homes outside Chilliwack’s protective dikes are still under an evacuation order — although at least one family has chosen to remain and fight the flood waters.
Residents of 39 other homes near the Carey Point area have been on evacuation alert since before the resident-built berm was breached Friday evening.
As of Monday morning, the river had fallen to 6.2 meters and was levelling off after peaking at just under 6.4 metres Saturday.
The original upper limit predicted for the weekend – 7.3 metres – would be similar to water levels reached in 1972.
The Gills, a Chilliwack family of blueberry farmers, are already exhausted from trying to protect their home with sandbags and water pumps. For weeks they’ve watched as the rising river has eaten away their blueberry orchard bit by bit.
“It’s been horrible,” Amarjit Gill told The Progress.
“So far, inside the house is OK but if it comes up any higher, we will have to leave.”
She said her husband, Buhd, is “so tired” from constant sandbagging that he’s almost depressed.
“But we have been so busy watching everything day and night, we just keep going.”
The evacuation order came last week as the waters started spilling over the banks, but the Gills stayed to try to save their home. They’ve been sleeping in shifts and sharing the sandbagging and pump duties, with the assistance of some very helpful neighbours.
“When the water broke, they were there,” Gill added.
Fraser River levels along the East Dike stabilized somewhat over the weekend, said city officials, after less rain fell than predicted, and Hope river levels remain constant.
Around the clock security was put in place to prevent public access to the closed roads leading to the Carey Point area, as media and curious onlookers keep trying to gain access.
“Please avoid this area and the riverside in general,” said city spokesperson Starlee Renton. “The bank is very unstable and a high risk to public safety.”
Water levels are expected to drop slightly early this week, and then rise again by the weekend according to forecasts for the upper headwaters.
“With the current forecast, there is no concern that water will overtop the dike system,” said the city release.
City of Chilliwack Flood Information line is 604.793.2757 or go to www.chilliwack.com/floodprotection
Full road closures with local traffic access only include:
• Old Orchard Road
• Ballam Rd. east of Mcdonald Rd. and west of McSween Rd.
• Local traffic only road closures remain in effect at McSween Rd. north of Ballam Rd.
• Ballam Rd.between Mc Sween Rd. and McDonald Rd.
• Ballam Rd. east of Kitchen including Jess
• Carey Rd. at Jesperson
Partial Road Closures include:
• Carey Rd. is open to local traffic only
• Young Rd. down to one lane near Tower Rd.