Mayor Kandis Jameson made yet another strong appeal for residents to leave their residences on Vale Island as floodwaters continued breaching the river and into the community, but at least a few appeared to be defying those orders.

“People should not be on that island,” Jameson said on Tuesday. “I can’t stress enough that nobody should be on that island. The amount of flowing on the highway is not good.”

The town issued an evacuation order for the island and the West Channel on May 7 at 2 a.m. but some have still stayed put.

Darlene Lamb, who lives on 105 Street – the furthest away from the river – stayed over the weekend largely to keep an eye on properties and record photo and video footage.

She said she received a personal call from Jameson on the morning of May 10 to leave.

Lamb said she would abide by the appeal and was in the process of heading for the main land on Tuesday morning.

“Kandis said get off now and called me personally saying that a lot of water is coming in and that we might get blocked in now,” she said.

“There are quite a few still here and people are starting to pack up. She said that tons of water is going to be coming and that they don’t know the direction it is going to go but that she is scared. But that is a good thing. She showed how serious it is.”

Others reached by the Hub said that they are still staying.

Allyn Rohatyn, who lives on 101 Street, said he has no intention of leaving his home as he is looking after his two dogs and watching two dogs and cats owned by a neighbour.

Asked if the mayor reached him, Rohatyn said no.

“No, but I don’t think she has a right us to get off the island,” he said.

“My wife is uptown and Kelly and daughter Tara who own the North Country Inn – I have been talking to them three to four times a day. I have lots of food that I can eat. I’m well supplied with food and – canned goods and I have an oven and I’m a good cook and can bake bread. I’m well prepared and don’t have problems at all.”

Rohatyn, who is of Ukrainian descent, said that the bombing in Ukraine is worst to endure than water flooding.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think (the flooding) was expected as bad as it is,” he said. “However, we can’t fight Mother Nature and we have to make the best of it. Compared with other things that are happening in the world, we are pretty fortunate when you look at what others have to go through.

“The water will pass and there may be some damage but we have to stick together and we have to do the best we can.

“People are concerned about a little bit of a flood. I’m thankful this is what we have and not bombs there.

The Town of Hay River said in a public advisory on May 10 that an evacuation order remains in place for Vale Island as well as West Channel and Paradise Gardens.

“Any residents within the area of the evacuation order should be staying at alternative locations and be registered with the Registration Center (833-699-0188),” the town reported.

“Water levels within the community continue to rise at a slow rate causing increased flooding of properties. Water flow over the highway on the island is becoming more prevalent impeding safe travel into the area. More water and ice are anticipated to connect with the main jam that extends through the West and East Channels which will result in increased flooding.”

The advisory added that sections of the highway to the island are underwater and access is restricted. Additionally, there are highway officers stationed at the Vale Island bridge controlling access to the island.

Jameson insisted that anyone remaining is being “irresponsible” at this point and that staying behind to care for pets is not a valid excuse.

“It’s ridiculous that they’re still on that island. A lot came off yesterday and today.

“People that used to have a reputation for staying and not leaving are now leaving.”

She added that if the community is stepping up to provide for all needs of residents including the care for animals. Anyone remaining should be heading straight to the evacuation centre at the community centre to register.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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