A BC City Is Letting People Come Home After The Floods But Only If They Follow Strict Rules
Courtesy of Amanda Rose

People who were told to leave their homes and evacuate a city in B.C. will soon be allowed to return to their properties — with certain restrictions.

The City of Merritt issued an evacuation order on November 15 after downpours contributed to the Coldwater River breaching its banks.

The floodwater prevented access to three bridges and caused the city's wastewater treatment system to fail. Residents were also told not to drink the water.

One Merritt family who evacuated the city was involved in a collision in which a six-year-old girl was killed and her mother and sister sustained serious injuries.

Now, the city has released a three-phase plan to get its residents back in their homes.

Phase 1

For properties north of the RCMP station in the Bench area, the evacuation order is set to lift as of noon on November 23.

Anyone moving back into their properties must boil water "for at least 60 seconds" before consuming it. They must also be "extremely conscious" of how much water they are using.

City of Merritt

Before moving back to the city, residents should have enough food and supplies to be "self-sufficient" for 72 hours. This is because while the grocery stores are due to open in the area on November 23, they may be on limited hours, and there is no guarantee of what products will be available.

All hydro, gas and internet facilities in the area are working, and the city is still developing a plan for students to return to school.

Phase 2

This phase applies to the area of the city between the RCMP station and Nicola Avenue, which was not affected by the flooding.

The city says: "The phase 2 area was not affected by flood inundation. Prior to lifting the evacuation order for this area, additional water flushing and testing will be conducted while the Kengard well fills the Grimmett reservoir. This increased reservoir supply will support increased fire flows and allow for the phase 2 area to return home."

The city expects to have an update regarding this area's return home by November 25, with similar restrictions to those in phase 1.

Phase 3

This phase applies to people living south of Nicola Avenue.

According to the city, "Timelines for removing the evacuation order to these neighbourhoods will be established as soon as possible. Orders will likely be removed on a block-by-block basis, with priority being given to those areas where utilities can more readily be re-established."

However, the city also said that it is developing a plan to allow some residents in this area daytime-only access to their homes until the evacuation order can be lifted.

An assessment of buildings in this area has been completed. It found 460 buildings were "green," (no restrictions to enter) 232 were "yellow" (some entry restrictions) and 16 were "red" (do not enter).

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