Evacuation notice issued for Vale Island residents

A shot of the Hay River in May 2021. (Supplied by Vince Hiebert.)
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An evacuation notice has been issued for Vale Island residents in Hay River as of 2 p.m. Friday.

Residents are required to register at the Community Centre, which has been set up as a flooding shelter, or by calling (833) 699-0188. Transportation to the shelter can be also be arranged by calling that number.

If you are living with someone who is or you yourself are isolating due to COVID-19, you should not enter the Community Centre, but call instead, the town says.

The town says residents have four options for places to stay during the evacuation: with family or friends, at the RV park set up by the town (only for people who have access to RV’s), at the evacuation centre, or at a hotel or motel. The town says residents are responsible for covering the costs of any hotel stays.

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Water levels have been rising on the Hay River and the surrounding area, as the breakup season progresses quickly with high temperatures throughout the NWT.

A breakup report posted to Facebook by the Town of Hay River says breakup is progressing on all the waterways surrounding Hay River, with most of it happening along the West Channel.

“Levels have been rising steadily on the Hay River at all monitoring stations,” the Town of Hay River said in a post on Facebook. “During our flight this morning, we discovered that there was pretty much no ice remaining from Steen River to the falls. There was a small section of ice in the Indian Cabins area but that was it.”

“From the falls to Hay River, there was sheet ice intermixed with some broken ice and open sections.  The open sections were minimal at that time.”

Temperatures are reaching 17 degrees Celsius on Friday and Sunday, according to Environment Canada. The town also warned against any unnecessary travel to Vale Island.

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Yesterday, residents of Vale Island and West Channel were issued an evacuation alert — telling residents to prepare their houses for an evacuation order.

Hay River was one of six communities identified as being at an elevated risk of flooding by the GNWT, due to record high water-levels on the Great Slave Lake and high water levels on many of the territory’s rivers.

Hay River’s evacuation shelter, approved by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer in April, will be able to hold 130 residents. The town is also setting up a trailer park where residents can park their RV’s or caravans.

Residents looking for more information can sign up for the town’s email alert system or find more information on the Town of Hay River Facebook page.

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