Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan are staying with his mom and stepdad until they can get back into their home damaged by flooding in Westholme Feb. 1. (Photo submitted)

Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan are staying with his mom and stepdad until they can get back into their home damaged by flooding in Westholme Feb. 1. (Photo submitted)

Rapid flood in Island community back on Feb. 1 leaves long-term scars

Waters subsided in short order, but painstaking rebuilding continues for one couple and neighbours

There’s a considerable irony to the ‘stay at home’ orders resulting from the constant threat of COVID-19 for Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan. They don’t have a home anymore.

Along with some other residents of Westholme and members of the Halalt Community impacted by a Feb. 1 flood that engulfed the area, they’re still homeless nearly three months later.

It’s been a long ordeal even attempting to become remotely reestablished. They initially spent one night at the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s emergency centre and then have been living like nomads ever since, going from house to house. They’re grateful to McEwan’s mom and stepfather for taking them in during the last month and will remain with them until they’re able to get back to their own home.

It’s already been a long haul to this point after their residence sustained extensive damage in the flood. They’ve lived on the 2 1/2 acre site once owned by McEwan’s dad for three years and just bought the place two years ago.

Jamison and McEwan know there’s others among their neighbours and the Halalt community who are still in the same boat after this long and actually worse off than them. They feel for them as well, based on how tough their own situation has been.

“With all going on in our world I hate to complain, however, we are still homeless because of the flood in Westholme,” Jamison indicated. “No one is giving us help for rebuilding our house.”

Jamison and McEwan are both on disability and have maxed out their credit card trying to pay for the essential repairs to septic, the water system, electrical and such things as ripping out the old drywall before even getting close to rebuilding. It’s all become quite overwhelming.

“We’ve done most of the work ourselves,” Jamison pointed out.

Work that’s been required to call in professional electricians or plumbers is extremely expensive.

They applied for disaster assistance funding, but it wasn’t nearly enough and they launched an appeal. Home insurance did not offer any coverage, declining them due to an “Act of God.”

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Jamison conceded. “There’s not enough money there to rebuild it.”

They salvaged very few possessions from the flood and those items are contained in an 8×10 storage unit on the property that comes with a monthly fee.

“We’re going to have to replace almost everything,” said Jamison. “It adds up and adds up.”

Many clothing and other personal effects were ruined. “We had to throw out so many clothes and shoes,” Jamison noted.

“Most of everything we own had to go to the garbage can.”

They’ve had to jack up their home two feet higher to possibly prevent another future occurrence.

The worst part of the floods was the impact of other properties in the vicinity.

The septic backed up and it was “not just in our house, but the neighbours,” said Jamison. “The farm across from us, all their stuff was in our yard, too, and it’s not just water.”

Black mold inside the house is a huge issue that’s not easy to resolve. They’re still trying to find out how to deal with that.

“Everything has to be gutted out,” said Jamison of the building.

“We feel bad for the other neighbours, too. Last we spoke to them, they’re still in hotels.”

The flood in the early morning hours of Feb. 1 is still etched in their minds. They had precious little time to get out when the flood waters came pouring in.

With assistance from firefighters, Jamison said they had no more than two minutes to get out, enough to grab their dog and cat and to leave with their gumboots and housecoats on.

“I didn’t even realize what was going on,” she said of the 2:30 a.m. wake-up call that’s far beyond what anyone can comprehend.

Jamison and McEwan have exhausted all avenues for assistance. “As far as I know, I did everything I can,” said Jamison.

The current health crisis has caused a double dose of hardship for them.

“I know COVID-19 has taken over the world now. I want to smile and have joy in life.”

With the home gutted, Jamison has accentuated the positive from that.

“The refreshing part of it is seeing it all empty and down to nothing, I can do whatever want with it now.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Home’s flooring was totally ruined. (Photo submitted)

Home’s flooring was totally ruined. (Photo submitted)

An awful mess of ugly liquids was left inside the home of Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan after Feb. 1 flood in Westholme. (Photo submitted)

An awful mess of ugly liquids was left inside the home of Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan after Feb. 1 flood in Westholme. (Photo submitted)

Damage inside Jamison and McEwan’s home was extensive. (Photo submitted)

Damage inside Jamison and McEwan’s home was extensive. (Photo submitted)

Bathroom floor was left in deplorable condition. (Photo submitted)

Bathroom floor was left in deplorable condition. (Photo submitted)

Clean-up and renovation has been ongoing since Feb. 1 Westholme flood for Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan. (Photo submitted)

Clean-up and renovation has been ongoing since Feb. 1 Westholme flood for Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan. (Photo submitted)

Another view of floor damage inside the home of Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan. (Photo submitted)

Another view of floor damage inside the home of Jolie Jamison and Jason McEwan. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Langford and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance are partnering to provide local businesses with one-year Island Good memberships. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island Economic Alliance)
Langford offering local businesses free Island Good membership

Island Good label helps consumers identify local products

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Saanich parks staff will be applying a herbicide called Garlon XRT in Sayward Hill Park between Jan. 18 to 29 to control the invasive species English holly and hawthorn. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Herbicide used to target ‘priority’ invasive species in Saanich park

Treatment applied to English holly, hawthorn stumps, in Sayward Hill Park

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)
BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Most Read