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Receding Chemainus River waters allow roads to reopen

King tide and heavy rains don’t result in an elevated flood
This is how Pinson’s Corner looked Tuesday morning. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus and Crofton Roads at Pinson’s Corner reopened Tuesday after flood waters from the Chemainus River receded overnight Monday.

Heavy overnight rain and a morning king tide event did not impact the water levels on the Chemainus River, allowing roads in the area to be reopened.

However, with rain in the forecast for the remainder of the week, the situation is volatile and could change at a moment’s notice.

An evacuation alert issued Boxing Day for numerous properties on Chemainus Road, Crofton Road, Amos Road and Swallowfield Road remained in place.

Roberta Hicks de Plumpton lives in a residence where she grew up right along the river near the Chemainus River bridge and has seen the water rise to flood levels most years from a close-up vantage point.

Members of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP and North Cowichan Fire Department checked in on her Monday to make sure everything was OK, but her property was not among those placed on an evacuation alert.

“The police were first, they were so mellow,” said Hicks de Plumpton.

She has only ever evacuated her residence once and that was because mobility challenges of others in the household could not ensure their safe rescue if the need arose.

“They asked us last year because it was highest we’ve ever seen it,” said Hicks de Plumpton. “We didn’t go.”

That was during the atmospheric river event of November 2021 and all turned out fine. On this occasion, “it didn’t come half as far as it did last time,” Hicks de Plumpton noted.

The melting snow, heavy rains and high tide created a perfect storm that caused concern the water levels would continue to rise rapidly Tuesday.

Instead, “it’s receded quite a bit,” Hicks de Plumpton indicated. “(Tuesday), the king tide was supposed to come at 9 (a.m.), but it doesn’t seem to be here.”

The Municipality of North Cowichan will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.

The municipality reminded motorists to never drive through flood waters, even if signage is not in place. People can sign up for Cowichan Alerts to learn about road closures, significant weather events and evacuation alerts

A total of 18 properties on Chemainus Road, east of the Halalt First Nation and south of Ashcroft Road; six on Crofton Road north of Tsussie Road; six on Amos Road, south of Ashcroft Road; and two on Swallowfield Road are subjected to the evacuation alert.

Chemainus River flowing toward the Bald Eagle campground at the peak level of its banks. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus River water level at the peak of its banks Tuesday morning. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Here’s what the Chemainus River water level north of the Chemainus River bridge on Chemainus Road looked like in October 2022. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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