Berm is being built along River Road on Katzie First Nation reserve in Pitt Meadows. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Berm is being built along River Road on Katzie First Nation reserve in Pitt Meadows. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

UPDATE: Pitt Meadows orders evacuation order due to localized flooding

Maple Ridge has issued flood advisory notices to 50 homes in Hammond

The City of Pitt Meadows has issued an evacuation order Friday due to localized flooding.

It applied to property at 21925 – 144th Avenue in Pitt Meadows. At 5 p.m., the city issued an evacuation order to the property, accessed off 224th Street and 144th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

“This is a result of localized flooding in Maple Ridge – 144th Ave. is flooded and has been closed by the City of Maple Ridge. This closure also applies to emergency vehicles. Residents and users of the area have been notified and the order has been posted,” according the the City of Pitt Meadows..

As well, Pitt Meadows issued an evacuation alert at 5:30 p.m. for the Codd Island Wetlands due to localized high water. “Access to the area should only be with extreme caution.”

The City of Maple Ridge is getting information directly to people worried about the rising Fraser River by setting up a separate page on its website, where it’s giving daily updates about any possible flooding and continues to warn about going close to the river.

Maple Ridge has activated its emergency operations centre and flood advisory notices have been issued to about 50 homes and businesses in Hammond on Thursday, telling them how to prepare in case the river breaches its banks. Sand and sandbags also have been stationed on Wharf Street, beneath the Golden Ears Bridge.

The Fraser River flow is expected to peak on Monday or Tuesday with a peak flow of 6.7 metres at the Mission gauge, according to the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

Meanwhile, works goes on at all three Katzie First Nation reserves in Pitt Meadows, in Langley and on Barnston Island, which remains under evacuation alert.

Sand bagging and berm building proceeded at a steady pace on Thursday and Friday as band members, volunteers and students all stopped in to fill sandbags in an empty lot on the Pitt Meadows reserve.

Katzie First Nation Chief Grace Cunningham said the goal is to get sandbags and berms in place that can withstand the water levels that were reached in 2012, or better. “The reinforcements that we’re putting into place today, will sustain us for a little bit worse than 2012.”

She said there’s been a huge response to the band’s call for volunteers a few days ago. Langley no longer needs volunteers, she added.

Surrey and Langley schools have helped out on the south side of the river while students from both public and private schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows also showed up in numbers. Inmates from correctional institutes are also helping out.

A sandbagging machine and fresh load of sand was also brought into the Pitt Meadows sandbagging operation on Friday.

“We’ve had people from other nations coming into support us. We’ve had our neighbours from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows coming in. We’ve had people come in as far as New Westminster, Surrey and Mission. I’d like to emphasize the gratitude and appreciation that our membership are feeling right now,” said Cunningham.

“I don’t think there are words that can clearly express the appreciation, and honestly, the love that we’re receiving from so many dffeent people from so many different areas. It’s really overwhelming. I can’t clearly articulate how much it means to us.”

Coleen Pierre has been helping organize the 60 to 70 volunteers who stopped by Thursday to help for as many hours as they can spare.

“School district No. 42 has been fabulous,” Pierre said. Students from Arthur Peake Centre, adult education centre, Ridge Meadows College and Westview secondary all took turns at shovelling sand. Band members are taking time off work to help out while others are just dropping in to help out wherever they can.

“It’s been steady, it’s total teamwork,” Pierre said.

She estimates that up to 2,000 sandbags had been filled Thursday. Donations of food and drink have also been coming in. Someone from Mission brought out eight flats of water and cookies.

“The volunteers are steady, the schools, it was kind of touching to us.”

Berms have already been constructed on River Road but the plan is keep on with preparations until the Fraser River starts to recede.

The current BC River Forecast Centre is predicting that levels could reach 6.7 m on the Mission gauge by May 21.

In the City of Pitt Meadows, staff continue to conduct daily inspections of the dikes.

Pitt Meadows, on its website, said its diking system that was built to withstand rising water, up to what was experienced in 1894, when the watermark at Mission reached 8.89 metres.

 

UPDATE: Pitt Meadows orders evacuation order due to localized flooding

People are warned about the fast water at Emily Mohun Park in Hammond in Maple Ridge. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

People are warned about the fast water at Emily Mohun Park in Hammond in Maple Ridge. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Father John and Katzie First Nation chief Grace Cunningham at sandbagging operation. (Contributed)

Father John and Katzie First Nation chief Grace Cunningham at sandbagging operation. (Contributed)