Hay River is in a state of recovery, the town’s senior administrative officer Glenn Smith said, May 22.
“We are in the early days of a long, long recovery phase,” said Smith, “It’s a different type of stress that’s for sure; this recovery stage is really where lives and livelihoods have been impacted.”
Smith said the town planned for months for the flooding but it exceeded their preparation efforts.
“We plan on flooding every year. It certainly occurs every year to varying degree but never to this extent,” said Smith.
The last major flood in Hay River was in 1963 in Old Town.
“What really made this flood unique was we prepared for flooding to occur on Vale Island and extensive damage was done in in New Town,” said Smith.
“The jamming of ice, spilling over onto Vale Island; the extreme conditions, water, melting, temperatures: it all came together as a perfect storm.”
There has been significant damage to the town’s infrastructure and public services, like power.
“The ravine is totally filled with water and submerged the sewage station by eight to ten feet. It’s a huge space to de-water and we had 17 pumps running at one point,” said Smith.
Hay River’s sanitary sewage system extends to 15 kilometers of sanitary sewage line and 7 sewage lift stations.
“Everyone is cleaning up their yards and in recovery mode,” KFN Chief April Martel said, May 22.
“Assessment officers with the government are going door to door and are in the process of seeing what needs to be replaced. As far as the sewage system, this should take a few more days to rectify.”