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Rain-drenched Bowen Island digs out from atmospheric river event

Island spared most of the damage rocking rest of the province
Heavy rains caused a road washout in Eagle Cliff Monday.

It wasn’t just copious amounts of rain that fell on Bowen Island on Monday.

The “atmospheric river” also caused rocks and debris to tumble down an embankment in Eaglecliff and block a culvert. With passageway under the road jammed near the S curve, the rain water went over the road, resulting in flood damage.

“That’s where we focused most of our energy,” says Sophie Idsinga, Bowen Island Municipality’s communications co-ordinator. The road was closed from roughly 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with traffic reductions afterwards.

There were about a dozen trouble spots for the municipality’s public works department. Another area of concern was Whitesails Road at Reef Road. Grafton Lake came close to spilling its banks but major problems were avoided. The municipality did receive calls from people whose houses flooded but none of the families had to leave their homes as a result.

“Everything yesterday was just sheer volume of water coming from everywhere,” Idsinga says, adding “We were really impressed by the effort everyone put in. It was all hands on deck with our public works and fire departments. Even the mayor was out with his chainsaw.”

“It was very difficult to get [the Eaglecliff culvert] unplugged,” says director of engineering Patrick Graham. His department had to borrow a local contractor’s excavator which, in part, is why his 2022 budget wish list would include purchase of the municipality’s own equipment.

Culvert replacement is also high on the priority list. “We have a lot of old steel culverts and we’re trying to address those of the highest need.”

The culvert on Eaglecliff has a “reasonably high probability” of flooding again, graduating it to close to the top of next year’s list.