Flooding from Nanaimo to Lake Cowichan is worst in decades

Flooding from Nanaimo to Lake Cowichan is worst in decades
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WatchA huge cleanup is underway from Lake Cowichan to Nanaimo, where many communities are coming to terms with the worst flooding they've seen in 50 years. The flood waters started rising early Saturday morning and as Skye Ryan reports, some people were still without power Monday.

Seventy-nine-year-old James Wheeler shivered and struggled to get warm in his Cedar mobile home Monday.

“I can barely talk I’m shivering so much,” said Wheeler.

Without legs and lacking circulation, he turned to candle heat. That wasn’t enough to warm even his hands.

“Cold,” said Wheeler.

“I’m so God-damned cold I can just barely talk.”

Power and heat were knocked out to his mobile home park south of Nanaimo when floodwaters from the neighbouring Nanaimo River rushed through it on Saturday.

The mobile home park was evacuated and residents were put into hotels by the Regional District of Nanaimo in the wake of the water, but on Monday, they were all sent home and unfortunately, their power was still out.

Because metres of the park were still underwater, preventing anyone from cleaning up or even staying warm.

“I’m going crazy,” said Cedar resident Ron Fawcett.

“We’re not getting any help. There’s no one here from the Regional District.”

“Now we’re back here and still no power,” said Cedar resident Harry Lloyd.

“No water.”

The residents are some of the thousands dealing with the impact of the worst flooding to hit parts of Vancouver Island in a generation.

“Yes well I’ve lived here for 48 years,” said Lake Cowichan resident Val Callebert.

“And this is the worst flooding that I’ve ever seen.”

In Crofton, volunteers spent Monday cleaning the path of mud the roaring floodwaters left behind in Russell Farms Market.

“Absolutely it was devastating,” said volunteer Duane Arsenault.

The longtime business expects it will take six months to reopen from the damage.

“We sunk everything we own into this place,” said Russell Farms Market’s owner France Bournazel.

“But guess what there are people out there who got it worse than us.”

North Cowichan’s Mayor Al Siebring said it was a perfect storm of elements to create the flooding.

“A lot of people say oh the dyke let go,” said Siebring.

“I’ve been checking with my staff. We know of no dykes that let go it was simply a case of a whole bunch of water,” he said.

The cleanup could take days to weeks in some areas.

Officials are urging anyone whose services have still not been restored to reach out.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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