Jeff Morrow’s Atkins Road home in Langford is teetering over Millstream Creek after last week’s heavy rainstorm caused a sinkhole to swallow part of his backyard and his deck to collapse.
“We were watching TV and we heard this horrific crash-smash-boom-woosh,” said Morrow. “We grabbed our flashlights and went outside only to see this enormous sinkhole.”
Incredibly, the home itself didn’t budge — likely thanks to some engineering work completed after another flood 30 years ago. But the damage to the property is severe, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and insurance doesn’t cover landslides. Morrow hopes to rely on the province’s disaster relief fund and has started the application process.
Julian Szostakiwskyj couldn’t believe how quickly the water rose during the storm, reaching way up to his home above the creek and covering his basement in a foot of water.
“[When] it was within two feet of the deck, it was at that point I knew I would have to vacate,” he said.
Now with two other major rain storms forecast for the region in the days ahead, those who live along the creek are on edge.
“Nervous, very nervous, just hoping and crossing our fingers that’s all we can do,” Szostakiwskyj said.
While work has been done to remove trees and debris from the creek since the last storm, not much more can be done in advance of the coming storms.
“It’s kind of an eco-sensitive area and you can’t just go and stick an excavator in there and start pounding away at it,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “You’ve got to hope for not as much rain as we had last week.”
Young says engineers are assessing the creek and will put a long-term plan together for remediation work.
“If we can do a little bit of improvements in the creek itself to mitigate any sides washing out or banks washing out, we’ll look at that.”
Young hopes the provincial and federal governments will contribute funding for the project.
With multiple storms forecast in the days ahead, those who live along the creek have no choice but to wait and hope.
“I think it’s safe to say there’s a feeling of high anxiety, everyone is sitting on pins and needles,” said Morrow.