After 41 years of living across the street from Paddlewheel Park, Mike Hawryluk seemed more amused than worried Tuesday by the ongoing response to the threat of flooding from the Fraser River.
"Unless there is a raging torrent, it isn't going to protect anyone because it's all seepage," Hawryluk said as he looked out onto the gabion diking that stretches along the roadbed in front of the park and further on up the middle of Farrell Street.
Hawryluk, 69, and his wife, Joey, have been living in their home at the corner of Regents Crescent and Bird Avenue since 1971, the year before the last major flood. By the time all was said and done in 1972, the water had crossed the road and was lapping against his lawn and led to flooding in his basement.
But Hawryluk took it all in stride.
"In the spring of '72 some friends of ours came through and we each had camper trucks so we took off to Tofino for two weeks and my dad was watching my house while I was gone," Hawryluk said.
He came home to find holes in his front yard where the emergency program trucks had sunk into his lawn, about a half-dozen barrels with old sandwiches in them and, oddly, "about 300 pairs of socks."
Unable to find work in Calgary and with his wife,Joey, pregnant at the time, the couple decided to move to Prince George where Hawryluk's father was living. They were told the property was on the floodplain but the price was right.
The only other time the Hawryluks had significant trouble was in 2007 when about three inches of water accumulated in their basement.
"But I prepared for it," Hawryluk said. "The river came up and it had stayed up about a week and I said "well, we've got another week and we're going to have some water in the basement,' so I put everything up on sawhorses."
As of late Tuesday morning, water had leaked into the basements of at least two homes along the east side of Regents Crescent, prompting surprise from both their owners. For one, who declined to give her name, it was the first time it had happened in the 28 years she had lived on the street.
The diking drew a small but steady parade of curious onlookers out for a walk in the sunshine Tuesday and an RCMP officer was stationed at the entrance to Farrell Street after the city issued an evacuation order Sunday for 17 homes the street.
Paddlewheel Park was underwater and the Fraser's edge was within two to four metres of the diking. But the provincial government's River Forecast Centre backed away slightly from an initial prediction that floodwaters could surpass 10.4 metres at South Fort George, a level not seen since 1972.
After predicting the Fraser's level could strike 10.3 to 10.8 metres by Tuesday evening, the Centre issued a revised prediction of 9.95 to 10.2 metres after the rain that was expected failed to materialize.
With a "small shot" of warm weather now in place, the level is expected to drop off for the time being but could rise once more with another spate of wet weather expected to strike by the end of the weekend.
"And we might be back similar to what we're seeing over the coming the days or we might have the potential for higher than that," said River Forecast Centre head David Campbell.
The regional district, meanwhile, expanded an evacuation alert by 16 more homes in the Shelley Townsite, bringing the total for 26. An evacuation alert also remains in place for 22 homes on Foreman Flats.
Local states of emergency remained in place for five areas around Prince George - Lansdowne, Houston Lane, PG Pulpmill Road, River Road and the rest of the Farrell Street area from Royal Crescent to the river.