The Great Wall at Westholme is a testament to the ingenuity and foresight of Clive Plumpton.
The fortress around Hicks House on the banks of the Chemainus River near the Chemainus River Bridge has held up on several occasions and did so again during the most extreme flooding to date on November 14 and 15.
“I’m so proud of him,” noted Roberta (Bobbin) Hicks of Plumpton of her late husband who died in July of this year. “This is the first time that the flood has pierced the back wall you see with the door. It was happening in waves, something never seen before.
Hicks of Plumpton swears that she will finish the job that her husband started.
– I’ll try, she said. “I’ll try to put it where it got it.”
Clive began building the walls over 30 years ago after Hicks, who grew up on the property, returned for Halloween a year and they woke up to the roar of the river in December.
Clive was stunned when he heard the sound of the raging river. When his wife advised him to look out their bedroom window, it was enough to convince him to start building the Great Wall in the spring as a preventative measure against potential future flooding.
With the current situation, he was right to plan ahead for the Great Wall to keep the increasingly widespread wall of water of the Chemainus River at bay.
“He started and went all the way around,” Plumpton’s Hicks pointed out. “They knew him as a builder. He was very artistic when he built. He made it beautiful.
Hicks of Plumpton, who just turned 60 in February, lived almost a few years of his life on the property along the Chemainus River and experienced extensive flooding. It was never enough to enter the house, but approached it this time.
“It was an inch below the bottom step of my porch,” she noted.
Hicks of Plumpton receives regular checks from the fire department during flooding situations and this is no exception.
“The fire captain was right up the aisle and I said, ‘No, it’s going to be fine. “I was not afraid at any time that he would enter the house. Touch wood.”
When Clive was alive, they would sit outside on a table along the wall and inside the fence to observe the power of the river from as close as possible without being in danger.
“We would sit there and watch people take pictures and wonder why they were sitting there?” Hicks of Plumpton noted. “The water was like right next to us. It’s scary, but it’s exciting. I’m sure people were looking at it and wondering why don’t they go? “
The sense of security comes from so many years spent in one place along the river and knowing that his strength wouldn’t go any further. And it’s also heartwarming that Clive’s Wall is the ultimate layer of protection like his heirloom and will only need a little more reinforcement to be sure.
“I love this place and Clive too,” said Hicks of Plumpton.