Nazko weathering the storm as residents return

Some road closures remain, but water has receded far below peak levels

A road closure sign on Nazko Highway on Monday, April 30. Melanie Law photo

Nazko residents were able to return home on Tuesday, after being on evacuation order for a little over a week.

The area is still on evacuation alert.

“There is still a possibility of flooding. This is early for flooding for around here,” says Cariboo Regional District’s Area I director Dylan Cash.

Despite the evacuation alert, the Nazko Road is fully open again, Emcon Services operations manager Bill Pattyson tells the Observer.

“The far end of it was underwater, but the water has receded. So the Nazko Highway from Nazko to kilometre 99 on the Batnuni is now open and passable,” he says.

Some road washouts remain, however.

“The Honolulu Road at 11 km is currently washed out. On Baezaeko Road at 12 km, there is a section of road we are not advising people to drive on due to flooding,” says Pattyson.

“At 79.5 km on Batnuni Road, we are in the process of installing a one-lane bridge and we hope to have light traffic able to travel over that by the end of the week.”

Pattyson says some other side roads are flooded, but are passable for vehicles with four-wheel drive.

Emcon has repaired the Nazko Bridge temporarily, and Pattyson says it is stable.

“We are not allowing fully loaded vehicles across it, but small vehicles of up to 10 to 15 tonnes are not an issue.”

The flooding in the area caused 120 CRD properties to be put on evacuation order, and the Nazko First Nation, with a population of around 200, issued its own evacuation order.

Nazko Reserve resident Jerry Clement says most people have returned home now.

“I think there are a couple people who had their crawl spaces wet because the water table went way up,” he says.

“It didn’t flood over a bank, but the water table in the ground was so high that it went into their basements.”

Clement says those community members lost some belongings to the flooding in their homes, but overall he hasn’t heard of too much damage.

“It could have been way worse. If it went up another two inches, it would have been a big difference, I think. [The water has] gone down about six feet already,” he says.

Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation (Kluskus) was not part of the order, and Neil Gauthreau, natural resources and gold liaison for the band, says the community of around 30 residents has so far not been affected.

“We are not doing too bad. Nazko really took the beating. They are on a flood plain. We live on the foothill of a mountain,” he explains.

“Our access road had some areas where water was across the road, but nothing out of the ordinary for a spring event.”

But they are not out of the woods yet.

“Our pinch point is Nazko Bridge. If that bridge washes out, we are cut off,” explains Gauthreau.

But CRD communications manager says the outlook is good.

“What we’ve been told from B.C. River Forecast Centre and Ministry of Environment is that seems like water is still subsiding in Nazko, and we are not expecting that the rain will cause the water to rise to that peak level. We are monitoring it, and letting people know they need to still be prepared,” she says.

The CRD is holding an information session in the Valley tonight (May 9), to inform residents about re-entry processes and financial assistance available to them. The CRD estimates that around 20 structures were impacted by flooding in the Cariboo Regional District.

Going forward, director Cash says the CRD will support the communities however they can.

“With flooding there’s not a lot we can do. The CRD brought out sandbags… and then they will be available to help [residents] get any [financial] assistance that’s available to them.”

Cash says the best way he can support residents is in getting the evacuation order downgraded.

“The longer people are on evacuation, the harder it is for people to keep businesses going out there.”

Clement says despite the evacuation order, it was good to see people come together.

“It was nice to see people work together and people being there for each other.”

Just Posted

Big victory for Quesnel’s U16 girls softball team in Kamloops

Unstoppable bats and a gem from Musselman propelled the girls to the win

Local athletes impress on Day 1 of Zone track and field event

CSS, QJS students showed off impressive skill as Quesnel hosts North Central Zone Championships

Tsilhqot’in community names officially recognized by Province

Tsilhqot’in names will now appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases

Editorial: respect where it’s due

Quesnel’s youth are impressive in their maturity and eloquence

Billie Bouchie Day celebrates Bouchie Lake’s community, culture and heritage

Activities planned for May 25, 26 include a Pioneer Family Tea, Métis history presentations and more

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read