Growing number of South Islanders displaced by flooding basements

WatchClean-up crews are inundated, emergency resources all over the South Island are being stretched thin -- overwhelmed with families recently displaced by floodwater from last weekend's heavy rain. As Kori Sidaway tells us, the fallout from the storms ranges from ruined heritage homes to some families who are left without a home altogether.

Water restoration experts rushed in and out of a heritage home in Oak Bay on Friday.

“Well it’s the house I was born in, and it’s having age problems like I am,” said owner Iain Hunter.

And that’s, putting it lightly.

“I was barefoot and I stepped down on the carpet and there was water all over my feet,” said Hunter.

“And then I turned the lights on and the basement was just awash.”

It’s one of many homes on the South Island where cleanup crews are working overtime to clear flooding after heavy rain hit the region last week.

“The ground is 100 per cent saturated so the water has absolutely nowhere to go,” said Brad Shultz, a water restoration specialist with Paul Davis who has come all the way down from Port Alberni to help out.

“It actually started coming through the doors, up any drains it could find. The water stopped at the one-foot mark.”

Other families have nowhere to go.

The Best and Bolton household is a big family. Eight kids, six still living under their roof.

But after their house also flooded, they no longer have a place to call home.

“Tonight we hope to spend the night at a friend’s house. After that, we’ve exhausted all our resources. We have no more money, we have no more gas. So we don’t know,” said mom and step-mom Jacquey Best.

And local advocacy groups say the Best/Bolton family, is one of many being displaced by basement flooding.

“We had four families displaced just yesterday that were reaching out for emergency assistance,” said Emily Rogers, a legal advocate with Together Against Poverty Society.

And what renters may not know, is when flooding occurs, the landlord is not responsible for anything.

“We recognize that tenant insurance can be pretty expensive but it’s so important in situations like this because really there’s no other way to be compensated for your loss,” added Rogers.

Little solace now to a family who only had business insurance, and is now facing homelessness.

“We’ve got to band together and make it work, for the kids,” said Best.


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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