People observe the view from Island 22 in Chilliwack as the Fraser continues to rise Wednesday.

People observe the view from Island 22 in Chilliwack as the Fraser continues to rise Wednesday.

Three homes outside Chilliwack’s dike evacuated

Chilliwack residents warned to keep away from edges of rising river

Three of the 42 homes outside Chilliwack’s protective dike were ordered evacuated Thursday as the Fraser River continued to swell outside its banks.

The river hovered at around six metres at Mission most of the day – still below the peak of 6.75-to-seven metres expected this weekend.

The city has also partially closed some roads in the Ballam Road and McSween area.

Homes within the dike are protected to flood levels of more than 8.5 metres. Nonetheless, the city has begun sandbagging a handful of homes along the Hope River as a preventive measure.

As the water rises, residents are also being warned to stay away from the edges of the river.

The City of Chilliwack is warning everyone to protect their own personal safety by avoiding any recreational activities or strolling too close to the riverside and on the dikes.

“Both lookie-loos and recreational activity on the riverbanks are not advised right now,” said Jim MacDonald, city emergency coordinator.

“What looks like stable ground, may not in fact be stable.”

Ongoing erosion near the Fraser at the northern tip of the city has been eating away at chunks of land from Island 22 to Carey Point, at the same time that freshet waters are rising.

So any part of the river’s edge could give way in an instant without warning.

“It’s serious business. We’ve noticed quite a few people getting too close to the river banks — and that includes media,” said MacDonald.

“When our staff are required to work on dicey ground like that they are wearing life jackets. That’s how seriously we take it.”

All the city’s flood prevention tips are on one page or follow the river levels at the River Forecast Centre.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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