Evacuation alerts lifted in southern Yukon as flood risk recedes

·2 min read
'We're quite confident now that we may have seen the water peak,' said Yukon Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn, seen here at Army Beach in early July. (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada - image credit)
'We're quite confident now that we may have seen the water peak,' said Yukon Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn, seen here at Army Beach in early July. (Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Evacuation alerts have been lifted in Yukon's Southern Lakes and Lake Laberge areas, as water levels continue to drop and flood risk lessens.

Dozens of Canadian Armed Forces members are also set to return home, after a month in Yukon filling sandbags and helping with flood response.

"Despite the rain we had the other day — this incredible wind and rain storm we had on Monday — we're still seeing the water levels drop," said Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn.

"And we're quite confident now that we may have seen the water peak on July 21st."

Mostyn said on Wednesday afternoon that emergency workers were notifying residents who were subject to evacuation alerts that those notices have now been rescinded.

The alerts were issued in early July for properties in the areas of Marsh and Tagish Lakes, Lewes River Road, and Lake Laberge.

Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada
Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada

An evacuation order issued for one property on Shallow Bay Road at Lake Laberge remained in place on Wednesday, however.

As of Wednesday, Marsh Lake was still about four centimetres above the 2007 level, while Bennett Lake and Tagish Lake were 7.5 and six centimetres below 2007 levels, respectively.

Lake Laberge also continues to drop but was still 11 centimetres above the 2007 level.

Mostyn said things are looking better, but the territory was "not out of the woods yet."

"We're still keeping an eye on things. So we'll make sure that the good conditions, the improving conditions we're seeing now continue."

600,000 sandbags to be cleaned up, eventually

He said the next phase of the territory's flood response will be the cleanup, but he's not sure yet what that will look like. There are now about 600,000 sandbags deployed in various spots.

"We're going to have to look at whether we start dismantling all this this fall, or whether we actually leave it in place until next spring," Mostyn said. "We are working on it."

Meantime, about 65 military personnel from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry were set to fly home to Edmonton on Thursday after a month working in the territory.

Mostyn said the soldiers were "integral" to the territory's flood response.

"I don't think we could have handled this flood without their assistance. I know we couldn't," he said.

The soldiers were given a formal send-off on Wednesday afternoon. Mostyn said they were given an official sign from the government sign shop for Army Beach, where many of them had been deployed to fill sandbags.

"We all signed it, and gave them local coffee and some pins and said, 'thank you so very much' — because frankly, without their assistance, we would have been in big trouble."

Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada
Vincent Bonnay/Radio-Canada
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