VICTORIA -- A Duncan middle school and nearby homes were evacuated Friday afternoon after a resident discovered explosives while they were out gardening.

RCMP said that an explosive disposal unit was on its way to the 3000-block of Auchinachie Road where the explosives were found around 12:40 p.m.

As a precaution, police have evacuated Mt. Prevost Middle School and nearby homes as the investigation is underway.

Students and staff at Mt. Prevost Middle School gathered at the Somenos soccer fields at Evans Park while the school cancelled the remainder of the day's classes. By 2 p.m., all students had been picked up by parents, according to the Cowichan Valley School District.

"Specialized members of the Explosive Disposal Unit are en route to examine, and make a determination on how to proceed as safely as possible," said BC RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau in a release Friday.

"We’re currently in the preliminary stages of the investigation, but these explosives appear to have been historically stored where they were found, but that is still to be determined," he said.

RCMP say that when the resident found the explosives, they called 911 immediately. Mounties add that the item discovered had the word "explosives" labelled on the outside.

Police ask that commuters avoid driving near the intersection of Sherman Road and Auchinachie Road.

Mounties estimate that the investigation will take several hours to complete, and are thanking displaced residents for their patience.