ONLINE FUNDRAISERS SET UP
CACHE CREEK - Locals shovel shale and debris from backyards and driveways as a helicopter flies overhead to assess damage after flash flooding took over the Village of Cache Creek on Saturday, May 23.
For many residents, the damage is aesthetics and landscaping, where others have basements full of mud. Some houses are condemmed and a 16-home trailer park was evacuated. An emergency centre is operating out of the community hall. A backhoe is stationed at the entrance of the town, scooping debris from a gully and crews are assessing the utility services in town for damage as well.
Mayor John Ranta declared a local state of emergency Sunday, May 24, after evacuation orders and alerts were issued. The province approved disaster financial assistance for the town Monday.
Premier Christy Clark, who visited the village May 26, says the province will support locals with social services and disaster financial assistance. Clark says social service support will be extended for a few more days to support those displaced.
Disaster relief financing will be determined on a case-by-case basis up to 80 per cent of cost or $300,000 the premier notes. Landscaping costs and second homes are not covered under the provincial program.
“We deal with each application individually,” she says. “There is a limit to what we can do, but we are going to try and be there as much as we can."
The mayor’s wife, Carmen Ranta, says home insurance failed to cover many locals.
“No one is getting insurance coverage for anything,” she says.
Ranta is helping those whose driveways are caked in mud by organizing volunteers through Facebook. As manager of the village’s beautification committee, Ranta says locals who want to help out can bring a shovel and meet in front of the municipal office each day at noon.
“Lots of folks are all alone dealing with this,” she says. “It’s organic — just casually knocking on doors and asking (people) if they need help."
Diella Siemens pulled her daughters out of school and drove from Abbotsford to help out for the day.
“I just watch so many of these disasters that are worldwide that I would like to go and help out at, but I can’t. This is much closer,” she says.
Ranta says the group will focus on those who need the help the most — like seniors, or the properties waiting on plows tackling mud piles throughout the town. She remains confident the town will compete in the province’s Communities in Bloom beautification program this July.
A Facebook group was set up to raise funds by auctioning items, along with another online fundraiser.
Paul Attle and his wife Linkwai Leung managed to stave off the water from damaging their home and have already cleaned most of their property after losing the better part of their garden in the flood. Standing in what was once a vegetable garden now caked in silt, Leung is concerned about growing food in the future.
“She’s worried the silt may be toxic,” Attle says.
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