'Housebound': Those with camps outside Inuvik, N.W.T., manage flooding

·2 min read
Ruby St. Amand says she has been 'housebound' while her camp about 10 kilometers northwest of Inuvik is surrounded by water. (submitted by Ruby St. Amand - image credit)
Ruby St. Amand says she has been 'housebound' while her camp about 10 kilometers northwest of Inuvik is surrounded by water. (submitted by Ruby St. Amand - image credit)

Ruby St. Amand, a resident of Inuvik, N.W.T., said she's never the water this high.

St. Amand has lived at her camp about 10 kilometers northwest of Inuvik since 1995.

While she said they have managed flooding in the past, they've always been left with land above water.

"This year, [we were] housebound," she told Loren McGinnis, host of CBC Radio's The Trailbreaker.

"We have a little 12-foot boat tied up right to our steps."

St. Amand said there were only a couple of inches between the water and the bottom of their cabin.

She and her husband have been on 24-hour flood watch as they've dealt with a submerged log pile, a 100-pound propane tank falling over, and having a laugh as they watched their fire pit float by. As the belongings are carried away by the water, St. Amand and her husband are having to retrieved them by boat.

"I felt like crying many times but I said, 'No, we've got a job to do. I don't have time to cry,'" she said. "I'll do it after it's all over and finished with."

submitted by Ruby St. Amand
submitted by Ruby St. Amand

According to the NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin from the department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), water levels in Inuvik have fallen slightly after hitting a presumed peak of about 17.1 metres on May 30.

In Aklavik, the bulletin reported levels holding steady at about 15.56 metres — about the same as last year's peak of about 15.54 metres at the measurement location.

ENR warns that water levels could still increase in Aklavik if further ice jams form and water backs up.

John and Sally Day also have camp outside of Inuvik, but they haven't yet been able to assess the damages.

"A lot of the camps are flooded over this year so I'm suspecting our camp is flooded too," Sally said.

They've had their camp for eight years. Two years ago, Sally Day said the water went over the bank but that "it didn't flood that bad."

"It's been years since I've seen it this high," she said.

Tyanna Bain/CBC
Tyanna Bain/CBC

The Days' flooring at their camp is insulated, so they're worried about damages if water does rise past the floor, in which case, "we'll have to tear it all out or else it will get moldy," Sally said.

The Days are waiting for the ice to thin out for it to be safe to travel to their camp.

They plan to seek government support for flooding damages if necessary.

"We're anxious to get out and make sure everything is ok," Sally Day said, "but if not, we just have to take it and deal with it."

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