Hay River issues evacuation order for Vale Island

A webcam photo of river conditions at Alexandra Falls as of May 7, 2021. Photo: Town of Hay River
A webcam photo of river conditions at Alexandra Falls as of May 7, 2021. Photo: Town of Hay River

Residents of Hay River’s Vale Island have been ordered to evacuate. The town issued a formal evacuation order for the area shortly after 2pm on Friday.

In a short notice, the town stated: “Due to a flood threat, an evacuation order has been issued for Vale Island, Hay River. Residents are required to register at the Hay River Community Centre (recreation centre) or at 833-699-0188 before evacuating the community.

“Any household that has evacuees who are in self-isolation, have Covid, or are demonstrating Covid symptoms, must call the registration centre – do not enter the registration centre. For those individuals requiring assistance evacuating please contact 833-699-0188.”

The town declared a local state of emergency at the same time.



On Facebook, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation said it had evacuated residents of its old village on Friday morning.

“There is more water and ice to come yet. Please keep safe and watch out for one another,” the First Nation told members.

Chief April Martel told Cabin Radio: “I have water coming up everywhere behind the school. I have roads closed everywhere because there’s too much water over the roads.

“All along the river, like the riverfront properties, they all know that if the water comes up they have to leave their premises. So where everybody goes is the [Chief Lamalice] complex. So everyone will meet at the complex as soon as I get water going up.



“I’m going to have to move everyone to the complex and then safely put them somewhere if I get tons and tons of water – which I don’t think will happen, to be honest.

“Right now we’re OK, because everyone’s on dry area and everyone visually sees everyone – so we all know who’s where and who’s who.”

Earlier, Hay River senior administrator Glenn Smith said the town was “keeping things on high alert.”

On Thursday afternoon, the town placed Vale Island and West Channel residents on evacuation alert in case of flooding. The West Channel has not yet received an evacuation order.

Smith, speaking to Loren McGinnis on CBC North’s Trailbreaker, said the good news is a “major portion of the ice” flowed out via the West Channel in the past day. He classified the situation on Friday morning as “stable but high-risk.”

Some flooding did take place at properties along the lakeshore. Affected residents were relocated from commercial properties and cabins on Thursday evening with the help of the fire department.

The town found accommodation for people who were evacuated that evening. Isolating residents who were evacuated are staying at Hay River’s isolation centre.

Ice pack farther up the river, near Paradise Gardens, broke up during the night.

Sarah Sibley contributed reporting.