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Old October 28th, 2003, 07:30 AM
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Pets rescued from flood

Keith Fraser and Ian Austin
The Province

About 50 households were still waiting to learn yesterday when they will be able to return to their flooded homes in Squamish.

Officials said they were able to reopen the Paradise Valley Road into the Cheakamus River Valley as far as the North Vancouver Outdoor School, but some homes are still not accessible.

"We are hoping to have more information later today on reopening the balance of the road, but there are still some inspections and work to be done there," said emergency spokeswoman Trudy Coates.

A meeting to give residents information about disaster relief was being held last night for anyone who has incurred loss and damage, she said.

As well, a logistics team is doing an analysis on the cost of the emergency response as well as some preliminary damage assessments in the Squamish area.

"It's a little bit difficult at this point because a lot of people have not had re-entry to their home, so we don't have the information on the personal losses," said Coates.

As residents of Squamish's flooded Spira trailer park readied to return, some found solace in not what they lost, but what they saved.

For neighbours Heather Gorrell and Laurel Lipsey, that means the 18 pets they rescued from the rising Squamish River.

"People and pets first," said Gorrell, 38, a B.C. Parks ranger who rescued three dogs, four cats, a ferret, a guinea pig, a rabbit and two exotic flying squirrels.

"The park managers gave me a call in Vancouver, and told me to get back home.

"If they hadn't phoned, I don't know if the animals would have made it."

Lipsey, a 47-year-old park facility operator, rescued a dog, two cats, two birds and a guinea pig.

"I got my animals out, and my photos -- everything that counts," she said.

In the Pemberton area, the Mount Currie band council is calling for better dike protection.

Band officials said they have been subjected to five floods in the past 20 years and this past week had 300 people evacuated owing to flooding.

The village of Pemberton was warning residents to beware of a person who is going around to flood victims trying to gain access to their homes under the pretense that he's representing the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

Copyright 2003 The Province
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