An annual marine show at Ocean Pacific Marine in Campbell River was forced indoors by extreme winds on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Photo by Alex Clarke/Black Press

High winds caused ‘evacuation’ of boatyard during marine show in Campbell River

Extreme weather forced event indoors, a first in more than 20 years

High winds led to the evacuation of a boatyard and forced a marine show indoors in Campbell River on Saturday.

Environment Canada said winds were expected to reach 70-90 km/h as Ocean Pacific Marine held the annual event in Discovery Harbour.

The decision to close the boatyard came at about 10:30 a.m., said Laura Kempling, human resources and quality systems manager at Ocean Pacific Marine.

“As the wind grew throughout the day, we determined that for everyone’s safety we needed to evacuate the yard and get everyone in, and secure the tents,” said Kempling.

The sale resumed inside the store while tents were tied down with ropes.

Attempting to dismantle the tents amid the gusty winds would potentially create more hazards, she said.

READ MORE: Extreme winds knock down trees, a shed and a power line on the North Coast

READ MORE: Wind storm on Vancouver Island leaves hundreds without power

“The concept is to secure them as much as possible, and keep everyone away from them, and let the wind do its thing.”

A silent auction raising money for the Campbell River Hospice Society will be rescheduled, she said.

The event also featured vessel tours, which lasted for a few hours until the winds became too extreme.

“There were kids heading down to the dock and it wasn’t safe anymore,” she said.

The event has been taking place for more than 20 years, and this was the first time it was ever closed down, according to Kempling.

There were more than 40 manufacturing representatives at the annual sale. Specials will be extended until the end of the day on April 13, Kempling said.


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