CACHE CREEK – A large donation by a local union will help with the massive clean-up effort still needed in the small town of Cache Creek.
“We want to put the challenge out to people to donate,” United Steelworkers Local 1-417 president Marty Gibbons says, adding people often have short memories.
Once the national news leaves Cache Creek, Gibbons worries the need will be forgotten.
Cache Creek was hit by a severe storm on May 23 that resulted in heavy rain falling for two hours. The rain caused flash flooding that forced evacuations and damaged homes. A state of local emergency was declared for the village and it didn't take long for the province approved disaster financial assistance for the region.
Nearly two weeks later many people have been able to go home, but clean-up continues in the town.
Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta says the residents may never recover what they lost.
“Many people are counting on disaster financial assistance… the program covers 80 per cent of essential needs,” he says.
Ranta notes what might be covered as an essential need is very different than the loss people actually suffered. One resident who lost her home will receive compensation to rebuild, but she will not recover the value of her property after a large portion of her yard was washed away, he notes.
As far as what’s considered essential, the mayor says assistance only covers the basics. Regardless of the size of house damaged, a two-person household is only entitled roughly to the equivalent of a one bedroom apartment — a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, washer and dryer.
“(Assistance) wouldn’t cover restoration of the house,” Ranta says.
Ranta says the flooding was so great it carved Cache Creek into a system of new drainage canals. The mayor worries about the rain left to come as showers are still being predicted in the area and given the original devastation, he doesn’t want to imagine what more rain would look like.
Ranta says all donations help, without them 'many, many people would be suffering financial hardships.'
The steelworkers donated $20,000, with $15,000 going to the United Way and $5,000 to the local food bank. The United Way is currently matching any donation up to $10,000 as well.
While the city is happy to be raising funds, it’s not so happy to consider who receives the funds, Ranta says. The next step will be to form a committee to decide who gets what, and how much. The committee will be headed by people in the community, including volunteer firefighters and members of the United Way.
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