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Seaside towns mop up after water floods some areas and brings debris over seawalls

High tides combined with strong winds led to significant damage to Qualicum Beach's waterfront, while several people were displaced due to flooding at the Surfside RV Resort in Parksville.
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Waves crash over the seawall in Qualicum Beach in a image from a video provided by the municipality. The town is asking people to stay out of the damaged area due to "hazardous conditions." TOWN OF QUALICUM BEACH

Flooding in Qualicum Beach and Parksville caused by rising ocean water and winds Friday had abated Sunday but cleanup in the hardest hit areas continues.

Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese said a king tide and northwest winds that came in with a “ferociousness” that turned logs into battering rams causing “significant damage” to the town’s seawall.

The seawall is damaged near the Sand Pebbles Inn and beachfront properties such as those on Judges Row were affected.

“It was the perfect storm with the wind and the king tide that caused all the damage,” Wiese said.

Much cleanup was done Sunday, he said, but he suspects the town’s seawall will take some time to repair.

“The waves are more or less gone and the cleanup is just happening, but there’s significant damage to the seawall,” Wiese said. “That’s gonna be a long time fixing.

“I have no idea what the final outcome of that will be and how it’s going to get done.”

The municipality is asking people to stay away from damaged parts of the seawall.

Staff will meet Monday to discuss the storm damage and “what we have to get done in a hurry” and check in with residents to assess any other damage, Wiese said.

Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien, acting mayor, said that seaside resort community “got off relatively unscathed” with water and debris washed up over Parksville Beach Community Park and onto sidewalks, leaving seaweed, debris and logs.

The flooding didn’t cause any serious erosion damage, he said. “We got off relatively lucky, I guess, compared to the town of Qualicum Beach.”

Surfside RV Resort Ltd., however, sustained heavy flooding. The property is located beside the park.

Resort manager Shawn Bennett said Sunday the water had receded and any water remaining had been pumped out of the area. Power had also been restored to residents. “All the properties are back up and running,” he said.

Bennett said he hasn’t seen flooding like this in 27 years.

Water came over the breakwater, bringing with it rocks, seaweed and logs, and flooded low-lying areas. Pathways were destroyed. Cars could be seen sitting in water almost up to the top of the front wheels.

Water never got inside the 308 RVs on site, said Bennett, explaining the homes are about two feet off the ground, but about 40 properties sustained damage. Between that and the electrical outage, about 10 people were displaced, he said.

Emergency Management Oceanside offered lodging and assistance to those people for 72 hours. The Parksville Fire Department was called in to assist.

The cleanup will continue into this next week, he said, with “a lot of members and volunteers” helping.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com