Anxious residents along the Cottonwood River are waiting to see just what a toll Mother Nature will exact on their homes and property with the currently flooding conditions, however according to local residents still working feverishly to save their homes, the wait is over for one residence. They reported the Allen home has disappeared into the raging waters.
After the Cottonwood River began flooding last Wednesday, Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre issued a Declaration of Local State of Emergency.
A small subdivision of 8 – 12 homes (30 people) was identified at risk.
Currently two residences are under evacuation (one being the Allen home), with 14 more under evacuation alert.
Rock diversion measures on the other home are expected to be breached and there are two other properties currently with significant land loss and encroaching water.
Northern Health Community Mental Health staff in Quesnel has been working with the impacted residents for several weeks to find temporary housing.
Days after provincial emergency response teams, engineers and flood hazard experts began working to try and protect properties and public roads along the swelling shorelines of the Cottonwood River near Quesnel, work has discontinued out of concern for worker safety.
Shortly after being identified at an elevated flood risk by the river Forecast Centre, water levels from high snow pack melt began flooding the small subdivision next to its shores.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure responded, along with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations and their water stewardship experts. Heavy machine excavation began to build trenches and rock rip rap to divert the water flow away from the properties and to stop or slow the bank erosion creeping towards the residences.
However, as river conditions worsened Saturday, the decision to stand down was made by a team of senior operations and management staff from three key ministries and in consultation with the regional district based on a combination of technical, logistical and practical as well as short and long term economic considerations.
Residents in the affected area have been offered emergency social services as well as assistance with moving and secured storage for their belongings.
The Province continues to work with the CRD to support, guide and provide access to resources for the affected families and as the flooding situation continues across the region.
It was unclear at press time if crews had returned to the affected area but again, local residents reported an excavator was working on clearing debris left by the Allen home in the wake of its slumping into the Cottonwood River.
Access to the area is restricted to emergency personnel, some local residents with RCMP on site.