MLA Donna Barnett in her weekly column talks about flooding and the impacts the region has experienced recently such as this home on Williams Lake as seen onTuesday, April 28. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

COLUMN: ‘Devastation that could be mitigated hits morale the hardest’: MLA Barnett

‘Our region needs help and needs it now,’ says Donna Barnett

Our communities have been devastated by unavoidable natural disasters from wildfires to flooding. However, it is the devastation that could be mitigated that hits our morale the hardest.

While high snowpack and warm weather have contributed to a bad flooding season, more can be done to prepare our communities for the impact.

We are already feeling the pain. Flooding in Scout Island and tributary rivers and streams across the Cariboo Chilcotin region has already resulted in evacuation orders, threatening people’s homes and livelihoods. Sadly, we know the situation is only getting worse.

I am concerned some of this flooding could have been avoided with mitigation measures. With water levels on the rise, the cost from flooding damages are predicted to increase by nearly triple. There is no more time to wait— the government needs to act now in order to save communities and save money.

Read more: WLIB works to address localized flooding

We are finding ourselves in an even more challenging situation, as we are forced to address this issue during the pandemic, making recovery efforts and evacuations even more complicated as we aim to uphold health and safety measures.

Our region needs help and we need it now. It is time for our communities to get the planning and financial support we need so that the burden is not placed on residents and ranchers to foot the bill. While we wait for the government to provide relief, we can all do our part to help. Cut back your water consumption, stay away from high water, and please listen to our local government officials.

I urge everyone to register for the Cariboo Chilcotin Emergency Notification System to receive alerts and orders:

My heart goes out to everyone who is feeling the effects of the many hardships we are facing. I am doing everything I can to advocate for our communities to get the support we need.

Stay strong and know that we will weather this storm together.

Read more: River valley update: Crews work to build temporary access bridge berm

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