New Brunswick Tribune

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

As floodgates opened in Abbotsford, the dyke breach was sealed

Key takeaways:

  • According to Henry Braun, a crack in the Sumas River dike has been repaired, but work to reinforce it is still ongoing.
  • Menno Koehoorn, a volunteer, used a boat to transport Timmermans to his home for the first time since the floods.

A break in the Sumas River dike has been repaired, but work to reinforce it is still ongoing, according to Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, who spoke at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

Furthermore, the floodgates at the Barrowtown Pump Station have been entirely opened, according to Braun.

Despite this positive news, the mayor stated that the city is “still a long way from being out of danger.” Braun stated that the local state of emergency had been extended until November 29.

Early in the day, the City of Chilliwack released a news release announcing the completion of dike repairs and lifting the city’s evacuation order.

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Braun began his speech by praising the efforts of personnel and people near the pump station in preventing it from falling catastrophically earlier last week.

“After my visit to Barrowtown this morning, I have a whole new respect for how near we were to having a much, much greater calamity,” Braun remarked. “We were on the verge of losing this vital piece of infrastructure.”

As a result of the dike breach and the activation of the floodgates, water is no longer flowing from the Sumas River into the former Sumas Lake bed. 

Instead, the Sumas River runs directly into the Fraser River, just as it should, and the pump station also pumps water from the former lake into the Fraser.

Braun said that work is still needed to enhance the width and height of the repaired dike and that the Sumas River water level is already rising due to the breach closure.

“We began and are still executing a massive endeavor,” the mayor stated of the dike restoration.

“The situation here remains fluid, and a critical component of how effectively we can keep things going favorably is directly connected to how well our weather continues to cooperate,” Braun said.

Abbotsford flooding: Floodgates opened, dike breach sealed, mayor says

Erik Timmermans, a Sumas Prairie native, was ecstatic to learn of the dike’s development.

“It’s fantastic news,” he stated.

On Saturday, Menno Koehoorn, a volunteer, used a boat to transport Timmermans to his home for the first time since the floods.

His pet needed to be rescued, and his family needed to retrieve vital belongings.

His property was surrounded by water, and his house had roughly eight inches of water inside.

“It’s heartbreaking to see your house flooded and all your possessions drifting about,” he remarked.

More than 100 Canadian Forces personnel are on the ground in Abbotsford, assisting with the rescue of animals, filling sandbags, and moving people, goods, and equipment throughout the flooded area.

The Sumas Prairie is a 90-square-kilometer low-lying region in southeast Abbotsford, with the old Sumas Lake occupying more than two-thirds of the area.

Floodwaters from the Nooksack River in the United States enter the Fraser via the Sumas River. Last weekend, when an atmospheric river delivered torrential rain and melting snow to the Pacific Northwest, the dike that keeps back the Sumas River was breached in two locations, flooding much of the grassland and allowing the former lake to begin refilling.

Source: CTV News

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