Ditidaht members use almost complete bypass to safely leave village amidst flooding

Nitinaht Lake, BC

With recent flooding, Ditidaht members cautiously and safely used the nearly complete bypass road to access grocery shops and attend medical appointments in the nearby towns of Port Alberni and Duncan.

“It worked quite successfully [and] made people very happy that they had the availability to go to Port Alberni or Duncan for their… medical trips [and] grocery shopping,” said Brian Tate, Ditidaht’s chief counsellor.

Roughly two kilometers of the Carmanah Mainline is located along the Nitinaht River flood plain, making it difficult for residents of Malachan to leave the village during heavy rainfall and flooding. Oftentimes, flooding makes essential services in nearby towns, such as Port Alberni and Duncan, inaccessible.

After years of lobbying the government, the Ditidaht First Nation undertook the project to construct a 2.8-kilometer bypass road that avoids the flood plain.

The Ditidaht Economic Development Corporation funded the $1.7-million-dollar project, and Tate is hoping the province will reimburse the cost.

The project has had a couple of delays due to snow, heavy rains, and material availability, said Tate.

The project is nearing completion with road grading, leveling, and some remaining bridge guard rails to install, he continued.

The bypass road is expected to be complete in the next one to two weeks.

“It's a sense of security in knowing that there is an option to get around and pass the flood zone areas,” said Tate.

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