City issues evacuation alert to Farrell Street residents
A front-end loader pours sand into gabion diking set up along a portion of Farrell Street on Wednesday. Citizen photo by Brent Braaten
With the help of a front-end loader, city workers were busy Wednesday pouring sand into a length of gabion diking along a stretch of Farrell Street in anticipation of the Fraser River breaking its banks sometime in the next few days.
The work began after the city issued an evacuation alert to 18 homes. Prince George Fire Rescue delivered notices on Tuesday evening.article continues below
"Residents are advised to be ready to leave their properties on short notice should an evacuation order be issued," city hall said. "No evacuation orders have yet been given."
It's a drill Emma Broomsgrove has been through before. She and her family had just bought their home on Farrell Street when the same scenario emerged in June 2012.
"Not surprised," she said as she stood on the front porch looking at the activity. "We know to expect it here, we're in the flood zone."
Neighbour Judy Pettapiece, who's lived on Farrell for three years, held the same easy-going attitude. Pumping water out of her home's basement has become an annual event, "but this year it's rising."
About six inches of water covered the basement floor.
The alert was issued because the Fraser River is nearing the nine-metr e mark, when water typically begins to interfere with sewer systems in the area.
Flooding could begin at about 9.4 metres and the River Forecast Centre has indicated that level could be reached later this week, according to city hall.
The city has also secured about 365 metres worth of gabion diking which will be installed along Farrell Street and Regents Crescent.
City workers have also delivered a load of sand to the north end of Farrell Street for those who want to begin sandbagging to protect their homes and properties.
Located near Paddlewheel Park in South Fort George, the area is typically the first to be affected whenever there is flooding. Broomsgrove considers it cost of living next to a river.
"We like to say that it's 360 days a year of living in perfect paradise here on the river and five days of flooding," she said and noted the house is on stilts and without a basement.
"When it came up in 2012, it ca me under the house but we didn't get any damage," she said. "Our floorboards are two-and-a-half feet off the ground or something."
If there is a concern for Broomsgrove, it's that the trouble might last as much as a couple weeks rather than just a few days this time around.
Pettapiece, who lives with her spouse and daughter, said their home, which they rent from a couple now living in northern Alberta, is the only one in the neighbourhood with a basement. She said both the furnace and the hot water tank sat on blocks but are designed to be easily removed and have been taken out.
She said they're ready to move out at a moment's notice.
"We're flooding but I'm not too concerned," Pettapiece said. "The city seems to have a grip on things."