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South Slave

Hay River lifts Vale Island evacuation order

Last modified: May 10, 2021 at 5:53pm


Town of Hay River officials have lifted an evacuation order for Vale Island as ice resumes flowing through the community.

The evacuation order was lifted shortly after 5pm on Monday. “All levels in the watershed are still high but local water levels have dropped, and we have a good flow out the West Channel,” officials said in a statement.

“The East Channel is still jammed and there is still a possibility of water coming up and breaching the banks in the old town area.”

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Breakup watch would continue “until such time as both channels are flowing freely to the lake,” the statement concluded.

Earlier on Monday, Chief April Martel of the neighbouring Kátł’odeeche First Nation said she remained concerned for the reserve’s Old Village, where the ice had yet to break up.

“I’m still worried,” Martel said.

“We’re still on high alert here on the reserve, just in case, because we have a lot of low ground.

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“I do have a lot of water flow in all the ditches behind the complex, by the school. I have a couple of roads washed out and it’s raining right now, so it doesn’t help anything. Other than that, we’re OK.

“It’s basically those back roads. A lot of people live along the river there and they’re starting to see water in their backyards.”

In a post to Facebook on Monday, the Town of Hay River reported “bank-to-bank ice flow” through the community after the river had spent much of the weekend jammed.

The night before, town officials spoke of their concern that “when the jam lets loose, we will see an influx of water that could cause some flooding in both the new town and Vale Island.”

An email from town officials continued: “Local levels are still very high, and some sites show record highs as far as depth is concerned.”

Sarah Sibley contributed reporting.

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