Abbotsford update: almost all evacuation orders lifted


Abbotsford mayor says work is just beginning for next two years of recovery

In a final emotional emergency press briefing, the Mayor of Abbotsford provided the latest updates on flood repairs in the area and thanked the many involved in the town’s recovery.

On Friday (December 10), Mayor Henry Braun spoke to the press about Abbotsford’s progress in recovering from the devastating flooding caused by extreme weather events last month. Braun said the city will lift the last part of the evacuation order for Sumas Grassland, except for a few houses north of the Sumas River.

“We are talking directly with these owners about their individual scenarios and their return plans,” said Braun. “The bottom of the old lake is the red zone on our way back.”

Earlier this week, the city was able to remove the no-drink advisory for the water service in Sumas Prairie. However, a boil water advisory remains in place while the system is flushed.

Inspections and assessments of roads, culverts and bridges are also almost fully completed.

“With all of this important work completed, today we take this fourth and final step in implementing our Coming Home Plan,” continued Braun.

Not out of the woods yet

Although Braun described the lifting of the evacuation orders as excellent news, he is aware that there are still residents unable to return home as many structures and roads in Sumas Prarie remain damaged.

“Our Return Home website includes specific and essential information for evacuees that will help them return to their properties,” Braun said.

Braun also mentioned the weather forecast calling for 40 to 60mm of rain over the next two days. More importantly, he noted, were the winds of 60 kilometers per hour.

“While these wind speeds are not unusual, with soil as oversaturated as it is, it can easily become a problem for trees,” Braun said.

Moving on to speaking more personally, Braun swallowed back tears as the last month called it a “surreal” experience.

“But I think the worst days are behind us,” Braun said. “I am encouraged that we are now in the last step of our homecoming plan. And I am optimistic that from then on it will be two steps forward with more hindsight.”

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