When Tammy Berry, a Pitt Meadows resident, reached home Sunday, she realized how lucky she had been to have made it just in time before the mudslide that has now trapped some of her friends and acquaintances on Hwy. 7.
“I left Princeton in the afternoon yesterday; when I checked the roads they were fine and all of this started to happen on my drive back. That whole area, no matter where you are there, since yesterday, I have been watching it all starting to fall apart, and literally I came through Seabird a few hours prior to the mudslide,” said Berry, who works as an advertising consultant with Langley Advance Times.
Safe home, Berry is still very much in danger of flooding as her house is close to the river in Pitt Meadows.
“In the 30 years between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows that I have lived here, never have I seen weather like this before. There is always the occasional flooding in certain areas throughout but I have never seen it happen on Hammond Road or Airport Way,” she said. After her close call, Berry is now worried for her friends, some of whom are stranded in adjoining towns or even stuck on the Highway.
Tania Honeysett, who is among the roughly 100 cars stuck on the highway, spoke with The News. Honeysett was on her way back from the Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna with her husband Scott Connelly, and dog, when the mudslide happened blocking their way home to Maple Ridge.
“Roads were awful; some people were driving on rims because they were by themselves and had a flat tire, they just wanted to get out and were just driving out that way,” said Honeysett, “But we aren’t in too bad shape because we got stuck a little further away from the rocks right next to Skawahlook First Nation. And they opened up the lodge and they are making coffee, and have water. So people within sort of walking distance of here are pretty good compared to so many others who are in a much worse state.”
“They are awesome!” chimed in Connelly.
Honeysett, agreeing and marvelling at the First Nation’s kindness further explained that people had come together and had been helping each other out.
“People have been rationing the food they carried, one guy has set up a barbeque down the road and is offering people chicken, people with kids are helping each other out with diapers and such; it is all very nice,” she said.
The group of the Hwy. 7 stranded have even formed a Facebook group called “Stuck on 7,” to help each other out, pass along messages and information, request help, connect with help, etc., said Honeysett.
While communication between those stuck has been strong, it hasn’t been the case with the authorities, said some of them including Honeysett.
“It took us hours until we reached Hope; from there we thought we could get through because they never said anything. We have been here since 6 p.m. last night,” she said, not hoping to get airlifted tonight especially since the winds have started to pick up.
Another Maple Ridge resident, Lisa Craik wrote, “Stuck between two mudslides on Hwy. 7 since yesterday trying to get home to Maple Ridge.” Craik also pointed out that there had been very little communication, a complaint that echoed again by her like a few others on the Facebook group.
So far, 12 people had been evacuated from the mudslide and more are expected to be evacuated.
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