First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., worried about future as Somass River floods again
Five homes evacuated Saturday as community sandbags properties in anticipation of more rain
It's another November and another season of flooding for the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., as the Somass River continues to spill its banks after heavy rains.
"[I'm] very nervous for everyone on the reserve," said Hugh Braker, the emergency operations director for the Tseshaht.
"This seems to be happening more and more every year now. So we're really on edge about what the future holds for us."
It's the third year in a row that the Somass River, which flows through the community, has flooded and either caused a state of emergency or the evacuation of homes.
On Saturday, five homes were evacuated and crews scrambled to fill and place sandbags around other properties
The province's River Forecast Centre has issued a flood warning for the Somass. It says that it's running at 785 cubic metres per second, which is close to flood levels that were experienced in 2015.
Environment and Climate Change Canada says rains will intensify, with 40 millimetres expected on Tuesday.
The Somass River is expected to peak on Monday, which officials say will equal or exceed 2016 levels. That's when a flood warning was issued from Port Alberni all the way to Tofino and six families were forced from their homes on the Tseshaht First Nation.
Rudy Watts and his wife were told to evacuate their home on Saturday.
"There's something to be worried about all the time," he said about what now appears to be regular flooding in his community.
"You never know what's going to happen, what's going to come up next."
Braker says the warnings have gone out to advise property owners about debris on its way — such as trees and even smashed boats — from further up the Somass.
"For everyone with wharves, docks, vessels in the Somass River to expect debris, substantial debris and they should really protect their property," he said.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District says it has three locations where residents can get sandbags to use to try and protect their properties.
With files from CHEK News.