Nearly a quarter of a million dollars in last-minute flood protection at Chilliwack's Carey Point has proven ineffectual to stop this year's Fraser River freshet.
A one-kilometre berm paid for by residents, the City of Chilliwack and the provincial government was breached Friday at approximately 5: 30 p.m.
By Saturday morning, a few residents ventured through the water with trucks, ATVs and on foot to retrieve belongings. Fields of grass, blueberries and hazelnut orchards were covered in water.
Adolph Hofner's home was locat-ed on the flooded side of the dike but by Saturday was sitting safely on higher ground.
As soon as he heard the berm had been breached, the 77-yearold man drove his precious Mercedes sports car up to the dike, followed by his motorhome.
"First my car, then my house," he said, looking out over the water.
Karen Engelbrecht, whose house is also between river and dike, was working with pumps to keep her basement dry.
Working up until midnight Friday, residents and volunteers put sandbags around three homes threatened by water.
But some complained that sand and sandbags were not provided sooner.
"The city said you can pick up sandbags but you aren't getting sand," resident John Van Den Brink told the Times Saturday morning at the scene.
The hazelnut farm owner said they didn't have sand until 10 p.m. Friday, nearly five hours after water breached the berm.
"It sucks when you have to start sandbagging as the water is coming up."
The city did not respond before presstime Monday.
The Carey Point area is outside the city's dike system, and was protected by a berm that held from 1997 until 2011, when it failed.
In a last-minute bid to protect the properties in May, Chilliwack MLA John Les came up with $25,000 from the provincial government, which was matched by the city. Property owners pitched in approximately $70,000 of their own money and built the berm themselves.
The structure runs on both sides of Orchard Slough where the city paid $110,000 to build a check dam.
The high Fraser freshet- the result of extremely high snow packs, a late spring, and sudden warm weather and rain-has also led to water backing up in local waterways that feed the river, including the Vedder Canal and all the local streams and sloughs.
At Island 22 Park, the parking lot, equestrian area and under-construction bike park were inundated with water late last week and the park was closed to all traffic Friday.
The BC River Forecast Centre (BCRFC) reported that the main pulse from last week's rainfall had moved through the Fraser River locally and water levels should hold steady until mid-week.
By Sunday afternoon, the river at the Mission gauge had hit 6.36 metres but had dropped to 6.22 metres by Monday at 3 p.m.
A significant additional rise by the long weekend predicted by the BCRFC Sunday was downgraded Monday as more favourable weather conditions surfaced, and flows were lower than predicted.
By the end of this week, flow on the Lower Fraser is predicted to reach 11,800 cubic metres per second (m3/s) at Hope, and the Mission gauge was forecast to hit between 6 and 6.6 metres. That forecast considers water currently in the tributaries, meaning any additional rainfall may see those numbers rise.
The city reported in its daily freshet update Monday that the Fraser River level along the East Dike remains stable and Hope River levels remain constant.
The 12 residents in three homes in the Carey Point area remain on evacuation order and residents in 39 other homes outside the protected area remain on evacuation alert. The city has put in place 24-hour security to prevent public access to the closed roads leading to the Carey Point area.
"With the current forecast, there is no concern that water will overtop the dike system," the update said.
The city's dike system is designed to protect up to 8.2 metres at Mission.
City of Chilliwack flood information line is 6047932757. For online information, including full and partial road closures, visit www.chilliwack. com/floodprotection.
? For more photos of the freshet around Chilliwack visit www.chilliwacktimes.com.