Flooding in BC: Cultus Lake storm damage hints at scale of upcoming cleanup

With the worst of November’s storms appearing to be over, the hard work of cleaning up has only just begun – new scenes of devastation continue to unfold.

At Cultus Lake Provincial Park near Chilliwack, crews have a huge job ahead of them after rushing floodwaters turn once pristine campsites into a disaster area.

“Devastating. It just tore up all over the place. Left rocks and silt and whatever is left just behind. Trees. It’s a powerful thing when it moves,” Ryan Pomeranz of Rimfire Excavating told Global News.

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Only one evacuation order left in flood-ravaged Sumas Prairie in British Columbia

Pomeranz and his colleagues worked hard on Wednesday, running to get the park back to a safe and usable state before spring, when it is one of the area’s most popular recreation destinations.

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The British Columbia Ministry of the Environment told Global News it was too early to say how long the cleanup could take.

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Princeton, BC battles inclement weather amid flood cleanup

Princeton, BC battles inclement weather amid flood cleanup

“I have never seen anything like it, and the amount of cleaning that needs to be done afterwards is just phenomenal,” he said.

“You try to do what you can. It’s painful to see. But it will be good when we’re done.

In nearby Abbotsford, authorities have given the green light to residents of another part of the flooded Sumas Prairie to return to their homes on Wednesday, where they will begin to assess the damage to their homes and resources. subsistence.

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New weather warnings issued with more heavy rain on the southern coast of British Columbia

WorkSafeBC has issued a warning regarding potential safety risks to catering companies and contractors working on storm cleanup, with potential hazards ranging from asbestos to chemical or biological contamination to structural or electrical damage.

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There are also thousands of potentially dangerous animal carcasses in the area.

Several hundred other properties in the ancient bottom of Sumas Lake remain on evacuation orders.

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Abbotsford mayor worried about farmers, but still focused on flood response rather than recovery

Abbotsford mayor worried about farmers, but still focused on flood response rather than recovery

But here too, weeks or months of work remain to come.

“We have reached a (50 centimeter) drop… to the bottom of Sumas Prairie Lake in the past two days,” Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said.

“With the tremendous progress we have made, we have made good progress in performing rapid assessments of damage to roads, bridges and culverts, which allows us to safely return people to their properties in the near future. “

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Abbotsford still faces major obstacles in restoring its water supply system, with residents being warned not to drink or consume tap water.

Crews began disinfecting the drinking water system on Tuesday, but in the meantime residents are being supplied by freshwater stations.

One station is already operating on No. 2 and Boundary Road, with a second scheduled to open on Thursday on Whatcom and Vye.

Residents obtaining drinking water from wells are supported through Fraser Health.

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