FLOOD WATCH 2017: Armstrong residents mop up after devastating flood

Cindy Masters with some of the items salvaged from the flood. They are being kept on pallets in case there is another flood.

ARMSTRONG - Armstrong residents are still feeling the effects of a large flood that swamped parts of the city last week.

Among those mopping up after the natural disaster is Kindale Developmental Association, a group that supports people with disabilities. During last Friday’s flood, May 5, the Bechtold Centre and Independent Generation facilities on Patterson Avenue filled with water and were left badly damaged.

“It’s been quite devastating,” development officer Cindy Masters says.

Due to the water damage, much of the association’s furniture, programming materials and other items — all of them either donated or purchased through precious fundraising dollars — had to be thrown out. What has been deemed salvageable is currently stored on top of wooden pallets in case there’s another flood.

Water filled the Bechtold Centre May 5, 2017.
Water filled the Bechtold Centre May 5, 2017.
Image Credit: Cindy Masters

Drywall has to be replaced, floors ripped out, and other restoration work completed before the association’s clients can return. Under normal circumstances, the facilities are host to a number of programs including life skills, cooking and volunteering. Now, the association is shuttling clients from Armstrong to its facilities in Vernon, where the programs are being held in the interim.

“Change is really tough on people with disabilities,” Masters says. “We will be working as fast as we can to restore this.”

She doesn’t have a dollar value yet for the damages, but says the financial toll will be heavy for the non-profit.

“Huge,” she says. “It’s a big blow to us.”

For now, Masters is asking people not to bring material donations to the Kindale Thrift Store because it remains closed. Instead, people are asked to drop off donations at either the Vernon or Salmon Arm locations. Financial donations are also graciously accepted.

Not far from Kindale, seniors at an assisted living home have been forced from their homes due to the flood waters. Diane Massingberd says her mother was displaced Friday, May 5 when water gushed into the downstairs suites at Pioneer Square.

Steven Trevis and Kyle Vriesinga of Okanagan Restoration rip up flooring at the Bechtold Centre in Armstrong.
Steven Trevis and Kyle Vriesinga of Okanagan Restoration rip up flooring at the Bechtold Centre in Armstrong.

“It was over the hip in the downstairs suites,” Massingberd says.

Her mother lost many of her possessions, including her hearing aids, which were swept away.

“A lot of them were very upset. Some of them have dementia,” Massingberd says. “Most of these poor old seniors didn’t have any insurance, and some of them don’t have family to help.”

The displaced residents were temporarily moved to a satellite location in Vernon, where they are camped out five to a room, Massingberd says.

Water surrounding Pioneer Square May 5, 2017.
Water surrounding Pioneer Square May 5, 2017.
Image Credit: Contributed/ Diane Massingberd

“We helped with one lady’s stuff…. As we carried out her garbage, we saw there were photo albums and personal papers there. It’s just heartbreaking to see someone at that point in their life lose that stuff. They don’t have much to begin with, and the family things they have are really good for them in that state,” she says.

She says the seniors are in need of donations, as well as help moving things back into the apartments once they have the go-ahead to return. Anyone wishing to help can contact her at dinemite_2000@hotmail.com.


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