UPDATE: Watermain break floods Oak Bay homes

Dozens told to evacuate after water fills dozens of homes

Oak Bay municipal worker Adam Gow carries sandbags after a watermain break on the corner of Eastdowne Road and Bowker Avenue.

Oak Bay municipal worker Adam Gow carries sandbags after a watermain break on the corner of Eastdowne Road and Bowker Avenue.

UPDATE: Residents may find that water is slightly discoloured when initially turning on the tap. If this is the case, please let the water run until it is clear.

BC Hydro will be working through the evening to restore power to the affected homes in the 2200 block of Bowker Avenue.

Public Works staff and the Fire Department will be working on Bowker Avenue tomorrow to assist residents with their clean up. 

Please continue to refer to the Oak Bay Municipal Website for the most up to date information.

Further inquiries should be directed to the Public Works Department at 250-598-4501.

Update: Water levels on Bowker Ave. have subsided, but it will be sometime until the power is back on, according to officials on the site.

A Salvation Army bus was set up near the flood-zone to help stranded residents and hungry workers refuel while they sandbagged and pumped out flooded basements.

By 5 p.m. about 20 people had taken refuge in the Oak Bay Recreation Centre at 1975 Bee St. The district’s website reports that staff hopes to have water services to affected homes turned back on by 8 p.m. tonight.

Check the District of Oak Bay’s website at oakbay.ca for more information.

Residents needing more information should contact Municipal Clerk Loranne Hilton at 250-598-3311 or after hours, the Oak Bay Fire Department at 250-592-9121.

 

Update: Water coursing through a broken watermain and into homes on Bowker Ave. was turned off by 3:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and crews are continuing to pump water out of homes in the area. Hydro is also turned off at 11 homes on the street. Affected residents are asked to go to the Oak Bay Recreation Centre at 1975 Bee St.

 

A major watermain break in the 2000-block of Bowker Ave., between Cadboro Bay Road and Eastdowne Road in Oak Bay has forced the evacuation of approximately 20 homes on Bowker Ave. and has caused some residents to question the effectiveness of the municipality’s response to the event.

Cory Heavener, whose mother Diane, lives on the block, told the News that her mother arrived home at 9 a.m. to find the street flooding and water running into her basement. More than two hours later, her basement was completely flooded and, according to Heavener, her mother had still received no information on what she should be doing.

Diane Heavener said that she tried to speak to the Public Works crews to get direction, but was told, “they were too busy” to talk to her. She finally called the Fire Department when she saw that her basement heating oil tank was submerged.

“I’m really angry about the response,” said Cory Heavener.

Joe Brooks, the operations manager for Oak Bay Public Works, said that they were notified about the watermain break at about 9 a.m. and immediately attended the scene to find that a 16-inch feeder line that runs through Oak Bay had ruptured. Brooks said crews immediately tried to shut down the line, but the task was complicated by the many feeder lines emanating from the mainline at the site of the break.

By noon, the water was still flowing and staff had been dispatched to Lansdowne Road where a main shutoff valve for the community is located. It was hoped that the flow might be stopped from that location, giving crews time to repair the damage.

Other public works crews worked diligently to sandbag the entire length of the street, trying to hold back the flow.

That move came too late for resident Martin Scaia, whose newly renovated basement is now flooded with four feet of water. “My kids bedrooms are down there and they’ve lost everything. They have no clothes … nothing. And the neighbour’s fuel tank is obviously leaking because you can smell diesel fumes in my basement.”

A major concern for residents was that it took more than two hours for the Fire Department to be notified of the event. Cam Thomson, assistant fire chief, was on site and confirmed that the first call came at about 11 a.m., not from Public Works, but from a homeowner whose home was flooding. As the agency responsible for emergency measures in Oak Bay, the Fire Department came to the site and immediately advised residents to evacuate, called in B.C. Hydro to turn off the power to the block and established an emergency shelter at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen was also notified after 11:30 a.m. and immediately went to the area to speak to residents and ensure that everything possible was being done to address the situation.

“I’m making sure that every staff person we have is made available to deal with this disaster,” said Jensen. “We’re certainly going to look into it (the response time for emergency services). People have already spoken to me and I know they’re concerned, and I don’t blame them.”

 

Just Posted

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes following provincial reopening announcement

Recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)
WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems

A new multi-family residential project at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street will feature nine below market-priced units aimed at middle-income, first-time homebuyers, through a partnership between BC Housing and the developer. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Middle-income first time homebuyers gain access to nine homes in Victoria

BC Housing partners with development community to create affordable purchases

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read