Around 50 residents who were impacted by flooding in the area attended a community meeting at Big Creek on Saturday, July 20.
Stephanie Masun, manager of protective services for the Cariboo Regional District said in addition to the 50 residents there were 17 agency representatives including the CRD.
“It was important to get out and meet after our first response and we were fortunate that a lot of people came out,” Masun said. “People made an effort to get there and some people drove very far. The roads are still under repair in some places. People have access and egress out to town, but they don’t necessarily have easy access to the Big Creek community hall.”
She said residents were receptive, but they are also very concerned.
Agency representatives from Disaster Financial Assistance, the ministries of agriculture and transportation, were available to answer questions, and acknowledged there is still more work to be done.
“We have to be careful not to assume what’s going to be needed but work with communities on what they actually need,” Masun said. “Recovery is, really, getting back to normal, and getting back to normal is going to be dependent on how well these other things work and there will be individual things that come up from household to household and ranch to ranch, guide outfitter to lodge operator.”
Masun had flown over, landed at a few sites, and been talking to impacted residents on the phone prior to Saturday’s meeting, during the response, which she said was different than during the wildfires.
“Most people are still at home and we didn’t have an evacuation so it meant we had early communication with the community members. It’s been consistent.”
She commended the ministries of transportation and forestry for the work they have done so far to get the roads passable and said it took about two hours to drive from Williams Lake.
“We drove out in trucks and cars for the meeting on Saturday, but I know inter-community transportation is still a challenge,” she added. “Some neighbours can’t get to neighbours easily.”
— MoT Cariboo District (@TranBC_Cariboo) July 17, 2019
Masun joined the CRD during the wildfire 2017 recovery process.
In the 14 months she has been there, the CRD’s emergency operation centre has been activated four times.
“We react with the understanding of recovery now,” Masun said. “We are advance planning on what we know people are going to need immediately and I feel that the province has reacted very quickly and been very supportive to our requests. The CRD does need to put in a DFA request so it isn’t independent of the response, it’s part of our role in co-ordinating these things and an interagency co-ordination to support communities.”
There will always be outmet needs, which is why Masun said the CRD appeals to residents to call 1-866-759-4977 or visit cariboord.ca/recovery.
Applications for Disaster Financial Assistance must be submitted by Oct. 15, 2019 and are also available online.