With more rain in the forecast and water continuing to pour into the Sumas Prairie, the City of Abbotsford is in a race against time to get a levee built to stop the flooding. In an update yesterday afternoon, Mayor Henry Braun explained the breach in one of the dikes spans 100 meters. The 2.5-kilometre-long levee will be built to stop water pouring across Highway 1. There are homes where construction is planned, and those homes will be lost. Construction is set to start this morning. Military helicopters have been deployed and 120 soldiers are now on the ground in Abbotsford to help with the effort.
It’s going to be months before anyone will be able to drive on Coquihalla between Hope and Merritt. The Minister of Transportation says even temporary repairs are going to take a while after huge sections of the major route were destroyed by floodwaters. He says crews will be mindful of the weather conditions and temporary fixes and/or alternate routes will be made to help restore the route. The province says while there is significant damage and debris on Highways 3 and 99, they will be easier to repair and open to at least essential travel in the short term.
About three-million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for five-to-11-year-olds will be shipped to Canada now that Health Canada has approved the shots. The agency’s chief medical adviser, Doctor Supriya Sharma, says this is another tool in the fight against COVID-19 that will allow children to safety return to activities they have missed in the last 20 months. The provinces are poised and ready to start administrating doses as soon as they arrive — with Ontario bookings possible as early as next week. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending two doses, with at least eight weeks between them.
After days of battling to protect his dairy farm from flooding in the Fraser Valley, one farmer says he’s now fighting law enforcement who have set up road blocks. Karl Reimer owns U and D Meier Dairy and says he’s been working to get his cows to safety after they spent days standing in water –but police are preventing others from coming into the area to help, and officials say it’s unsafe to do so. The Sumas Prairie area east of Abbotsford has been under an evacuation order since Tuesday, though police have said about 40 people were refusing to leave. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says helicopter deliveries of food and water are being arranged for livestock on farms cut off by the floods.
India’s Prime Minister says his government will withdraw the controversial farm laws that prompted year-long protests from tens of thousands of farmers who said the laws will shatter their livelihoods. The surprise announcement was made during a televised speech that was broadcast live, and included an apology to the country. Shortly after the announcement celebrations broke out, including many in Canada.
The British Columbia government is rationing gasoline on Vancouver Island, southwestern B-C and the Sunshine Coast after a a severe storm cut off supply lines. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says the limit of 30 litres per visit to a gas station is an important step to maintain the supply of fuel. The government has also prohibited non-essential travel on sections of highways 99, 3 and 7. The order takes effect today.
The Department of National Defence says an investigation is under way into an explosion at a Canadian Forces base on Vancouver Island that injured nearly two-dozen people. D-N-D says 16 members of the military and six civilians were hurt when the blast occurred yesterday at a barracks building that was undergoing renovations. It says one person remains in hospital, while the rest were treated and released. The department says the incident has not affected any of the base’s operations, including assisting with the response to flooding in southern B-C.
The state of emergency due to flooding and mudslides in the province has prompted the B-C New Democratic Party to postpone its virtual convention. The event was supposed to start today, but the N-D-P says in a statement that it’s looking for a new convention date. It says it will still elect a new executive through electronic balloting over an extended period of time because that’s a requirement under the N-D-P constitution. Premier John Horgan and federal New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh had been scheduled to deliver keynote addresses at the convention.
B-C’s top health officials are welcoming Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for children aged five to 11. Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that parents of children in that age group should be registering them for vaccination if they have not already done so. More than 75-thousand children are already on the list to be contacted to book an appointment for their shots. The statement says B-C will have enough vaccine available for the 360-thousand children aged 5 to 11 in the province as soon as possible.
Canadian Pacific Railway says it plans to restore service on washed-out tracks in southern British Columbia next week after torrential rain and mudslides ground train traffic to a standstill. The railroad operator says crews are working around the clock to repair damaged infrastructure on the C-P corridor between Vancouver and Kamloops, with about 20 sections of track cleared or repaired so far. Track outages have snarled movement of goods to and from the country’s largest port in Vancouver since Sunday, while crimped global supply chains prompt ongoing shortages. The Vancouver Fraser Port authority said this week that no rail traffic is currently able to flow between Vancouver and Kamloops, including on Canadian National Railway lines.
The soldier convicted of serving cannabis-laced cupcakes to eight of her comrades during a live-fire training exercise in New Brunswick in 2018 has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. Bombardier Chelsea Cogswell, who is 28, will also be demoted and dismissed from the Canadian Armed Forces. Cogswell was found guilty on eight counts of administering a noxious substance and one count of disgraceful conduct following a court martial. She had served the cupcakes to soldiers while operating a mobile field canteen on July 21, 2018, on the training grounds of 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.