Sooke opens sandbag station, plans 'proactive' response to coming storm

A free sandbag station has been set up in the Sooke Public Works yard. (CTV News)

With more heavy rain and winds on the way on Vancouver Island, the District of Sooke is getting prepared for the worst.

The coming storm is expected to be "a lesser event" than the one that hit B.C. on Nov. 15, the district says in a news release. That storm brought flooding and mudslides to parts of Vancouver Island and the mainland, and dropped about 80 millimetres of rain in Sooke, specifically.

This week's storm is forecast to bring 40 to 60 millimetres, but the district says it's taking "proactive measures to support public safety" anyway.

"We are taking steps to be more on top of things," said district Mayor Maja Tait. "Our emergency operations staff is monitoring the storm, we do have the alertable app that residents can download for Sooke-specific information, and they will be updating the (district) website with more on-the-spot information as it comes available."

The Sooke River is still running high after the last storm, and the Sooke Lake Reservoir is near capacity, so the district is closing access to Sooke Potholes Provincial Park until the water level goes down.

A free sandbag station has been set up in the district's public works yard at 2070 Kaltasin Rd. Residents in need of sandbags can stop by from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to pick up bags and sand, but they're asked to bring their own shovels.

The district is also asking people to stay home and off the roads to provide better access for first responders, and to help clear catch basins and culverts near their homes to ensure water can drain properly.

"With a particularly wet fall and winter in the forecast, the public is advised to use caution around rivers and waterways, stay clear of potentially unstable riverbanks, and respect park and trail closures that are issued for public safety," the district said in its release.

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