Barnston Island under evacuation alert

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Barnston Island under evacuation alert

An evacuation alert has been issued for Barnston Island, which is located between Surrey and Pitt Meadows in the Fraser River.

The approximately 100 people who live on the island, including 50 members of the Katzie First Nation, have been advised to prepare for the possibility of evacuation should flood waters continue to rise in the Fraser, as is predicted in the next few days. 

"We are encouraging people to plan accordingly," said Metro Vancouver spokesman Don Bradley.

Barnston Island is only accessible via a small ferry from Port Kells which normally shuts down between midnight and 6 a.m., however, service has now been extended around the clock.

Residents with large pets or livestock have been advised to move animals off the island immediately, because they will be banned from the ferry if an evacuation order is issued. 

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also warns ferry service will be suspended if the docks become submerged.

Starting today, access to the island has been restricted to residents, businesses and those with a family connection. Barnston Island Regional Park has also closed.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is advising Barnston residents to: 

- Gather essential items, such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable documents, immediate care needs and pets, and prepare to leave quickly.

- Know the location of all household members and determine a place to meet if separated during a potential evacuation.

- Prepare children, disabled or elderly persons for possible evacuation of their homes.

- Begin immediate relocation of large pets and livestock to a safe area. No large animals will be allowed on the Barnston Ferry once an evacuation order is issued.

- Arrange accommodation for their families, if possible, in the event of an evacuation. Emergency lodging will be provided if necessary. If time permits, residents are asked to consider taking steps to protect their property from damage