British Columbia·Photos

West Vancouver flood victims clean up mucky mess

Residents in the area around Willow Creek were left with mud covered streets and flood damage to 22 properties after overnight flooding in West Vancouver.

22 properties were damaged by the overnight flooding, but nobody was hurt

Homeowner Afshin Tajbakhsh struggles to get a rented generator out of the pond formed on the driveway of his house, which is currently for sale. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Sam Haydahl, 83, and a friend pick through Haydahl's garage. The two men work to get the deep freezer flipped right-side-up.

"It started to float and it flipped," he said, noting that it kept running until power to the entire area was later cut.

Haydahl has lived in the house on Ross Lane since 1958 and thankfully, only his shop-garage was inundated early Wednesday morning.

Sam Haydahl and a friend get Haydahl's freezer flipped back over after hip-deep flood water made it float and turn upside-down. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Sometime after midnight, debris swept up by 73 millimetres of rain and hail plugged a section of Willow Creek at Keith Road and Marine Drive and sent water washing over 22 properties below, according to West Vancouver officials.

Four houses were evacuated by first responders, but nobody was injured.

Sam Haydahl, 83, found hip-deep water and mud in his shop-garage on Wednesday morning. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Many of the items stuffed into Haydahl's garage were damaged by hip-deep water and mud.

"A lot of this stuff has to go to the dump," he said on Wednesday.

For many of his neighbours, the situation was much worse. Driveways, garages, pools, yards and basements were covered in waist deep water. When it washed away, a thick layer of mud coated the ground.

A layer of mucky mud coated the ground after overnight flooding in West Vancouver on Wednesday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Afshin Tajbakhsh's waterfront home still had a large pool in the driveway and garage midday Wednesday.

He has had the home on the market for about two years, and it's now listed at nearly $10.9 million.

Tajbakhsh said the furnished basement was completely filled with water.

Real estate agent Amin Sabounchi had planned to show the home to a client, but was cancelled due to the flooding.

Real estate agent Amin Sabounchi planned on showing a $10.88 million waterfront home to a client on Wednesday, but the showing was cancelled because the home suffered extensive flooding. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"I was really looking forward to showing it today," he said and noted that maybe now his client could get a good deal.

Sabounchi estimated that repairs would cost Tajbakhsh or his insurer about $500,000.

One-in-25-year event

District of West Vancouver spokesman Jeff McDonald said the rain on Tuesday night was a one-in-25-year event.

"This is what we'd call an extreme weather event, and we've seen it before, it happens from time to time, and it's probably fair to say it's happening more often," he said.

District of West Vancouver spokesman Jeff McDonald says the flooding around Willow Creek was caused by a one-in-25-year rain and hail event. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"Infrastructure is there to deal with these events and it deals with these events successfully almost all the time. From time to time, regrettably, sadly, events conspire to overwhelm infrastructure, and it looks like that's what happened in this case."

It was unclear on Wednesday whether the damaged homes would be covered by insurance. Homeowners had mixed views on whether they expected to be footing the bills.

McDonald wouldn't say whether there would be any help for homeowners stuck with major costs.

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"We'll take care of the infrastructure, of course and make changes if we need to — but damage to homes, that's really a conversation between homeowners and their insurers," he said.

McDonald said incidents like this may force the district rethink exactly where and how development is permitted.

"I think it's fair to say that climate change and weather events will need to be taken into account as communities develop their official community plans and as they either create, or modify existing zoning."

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