British Columbia

Fraser Valley prepares for possible flooding

The rising water levels on the Fraser River are starting to have an impact on residents of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, with an evacuation alert issued to some residents of Maple Ridge and Langley.

The rising water levels on the Fraser River are starting to have an impact on residents ofthe Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland.

An evacuation alert has been issued to about 40 Maple Ridge homeowners who live in a low-lying area.

District of Maple Ridge spokesman Gary Manson said the homes in question are not protected by the diking system along the river.

"There are some homes that are situated on the river side of the dike, so they aren't on the protected side. They are on the unprotected side [of the dike]."

On the other side of the river,about 350 homeownersin the Township of Langley were also getting evacuation alerts on Tuesday.

Len Foss,the fire department's assistant chief of operations,said residentsof Glen Valley, Darby Reach and MacMillan Island have received flood warnings.

The Albion ferry, which crosses the river between Maple Ridge and Fort Langley, has been closed to heavy truck traffic because of the rising water levels, and it soon could be closed to cars as well.

TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said the West Coast Express commuter train could also be shut down.

"West Coast Express passes very close to the Fraser River and surrounding lakes along its trip, so they are going to be watching it as well to see.

"That of course is a call that is going to be made in co-operation with CP Rail and we are just watching any other roads that are low-lying at this stage."

Insp. Amrik Virk of the Langley RCMP said his detachment is bringing in extra inflatable boats to maintain a presence throughout the community.

"The reason we need watercraft is for transportation to Fort Langley should that access be cut off."

Virk said theboats would be used to help officers take care of possible evacuations, traffic control and look out for property damage.

Dairy cows at risk

Some Fraser Valley farmers have begun moving their dairy herds to higher ground. ((CBC))
The rising river is also creating problems for dairy farmers.

The provincial government has issued advisories to dairy farmers on Barnston and Nicomen islands, and in the Glen Valleyarea, urging them to start moving their cattle to higher ground.

So far, few have heeded the warning. Of the 47 farms considered at risk, only a handful of farmers are moving their animals— about 10,000 in total.

There are concerns that it will be too late to move the thousands of other cows in high-risk areas if the river does hit flood stage.

As of 3 a.m. Tuesday, the river had risen to a level of 5.2 metres on the Mission gauge. By the weekend, that's expected to hit at least seven metres.

Officials say if the water rises over the 7.4-metre level recorded in 1972,it could start to spill over the banks.