The City of Abbotsford is moving into recovery mode as floodwaters decrease across the community.
During a press conference Thursday, Dec. 2 Mayor Henry Braun said the evacuation order that had been issued for the neighbourhood of Huntingdon on the Washington border had been downgraded to an alert. While there continues to be water flowing over the border, its volume has slowed and people are being allowed back to the residential area.
However, both Boundary and Vye roads still have closures on them, which run north and south of Huntingdon. Earlier today the province announced Highway 1 has reopened between Abbotsford and Hope.
Braun is hopeful more evacuation orders will be lifted shortly, but notes roads need to reopen first. Waters in the Sumas lake bed bottom are still around six feet deep, he added, and the flooded area has a diameter of about 4.5 km.
"The Barrowtown pumps and the canal [are] doing all the work and that's going to take two or three more weeks," Braun said, noting residents in affected areas won't be able to access their homes until that's done.
Those still evacuated from their homes in the eastern section of Sumas Prairie may not be able to visit their homes until around Christmas. While the pumps were able to drop water levels around 7 inches over the past 24 hours, that rate isn't always feasible and is dependent on the weather.
That's the timeline just to be able to see the home and assess the damage that the floodwaters have done over more than 45 days. And it may be slower if major rain events return to the region.
The flooded area will also have some infrastructure repairs needed; a significant water break is known to exist somewhere in the flooded region, but an exact location hasn't been found since the area it's in is covered in deep, muddy water.
For those displaced some help is coming, an initial cheque for $2,000 is being given to each household currently evacuated from the Red Cross and province; Braun noted more help is coming.
Samaritan's Purse is also involved in the recovery effort, organizing volunteers to help those recovering from the floods.