THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 15
THANK YOU to the local participating businesses$who helped make this special feature a reality. With your help,
1480 was raised
to go towards the Hell or High Water Telethon.
16 • THURSDAY, March 10, 2022
HELL OR HIGH WATER
A large charity concert aims to help flood and wildfire victims Izaiah Reyes NEWSROOM@ MERRITTHERALD.COM It is no secret that 2021 has been a very devastating year for BC. We saw wildfires and flooding destroy a number of communities and displace many of its residents. As folks try to recover from this series of unfortunate events, a few organizations have collaborated to produce “Hell or High Water” a fundraising concert that will take place on March 13. Melvina White (Tourism Nicola Valley, Experience Nicola Valley), the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly representing the Nooaitch, Coldwater, Shackan, and Cook’s Ferry Indian Bands, Kenny Hess (Founder
of Rockin’ River Music Festival), the “Brothers of Tourism” at EH Canada Travel, and the Rotary Club of Merritt teamed up for this event to help the people of Merritt, Abbotsford, Lytton, Princeton, and surrounding First Nations communities. “The need was great,” said Greg Girard, Co-Producer of Hell or High Water. “There’s a lot of people who cannot wait for funds to come and we thought we could pull our resources together to do something which has never been done before.” Hell or High Water is a fairly unique event which is broken down into two parts; first is a 12-hour telethon show online which features over 100 artists, 50 personalized messages for
the flood victims, and appearances by provincial and regional dignitaries. The telethon will be a number of guest hosts for the event including; Amber Marshall, Shaneen RobinsonDesjarlais, and Roger White. The other half of the event will be a two-hour concert held at the Clarke Foundation Theatre in Mission, BC. The show will feature names like Tom Jackson, George Canyon, and Aaron Pritchett. The event will be capped off by the announcement of winners for the prize by donation raffle where entrants could win any of the 13 prizes donated by local Merritt businesses and others. “Small communities aren’t generally putting
on something of this magnitude together,” Girard said. “I think for all the locals and all the communities participating, it’s something we should be proud of and I think we are going to impress a lot of people.” The charity concert hopes to raise $3 million dollars which will then be given to each communities’ corresponding Rotary Club. “The nice thing with the funds is they’re all going to credited charities,” said Girard. “There’s no middleman, there’s no commissions being taken out of it.” People hoping to access these funds may do so by filling out an application form from the Rotary Club’s website. The application is then reviewed by a committee and a cheque will be sent
Thank You Those two small words cannot express how much we appreciate all that you have done! We are all working together for the good of our community. Let’s all support the fundraising efforts to help the victims of the floods to get back home.
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heard the story and our need for this not to be another cold case disaster, filed away and forgotten, they said yes.” The telethon begins at 10 am on March 13 while the live show begins at 9 pm on the same day. Tickets for the live show will be $40 and are on sale now while the telethon will be a free show streaming on three websites, two social media platforms, and on Shaw TV. People could put in an entry for the prize by donation through donating and filling out a contest form found in their website. For more information about the show, the telethon, the raffle or how to donate, please visit www. hellorhighwater.ca
Words cannot express
THANK YOU First Responders For Standing Together With Our Community Through Fire and Water!
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to the applicant for the amount they are eligible to receive. “People should be really sharing this link out (www.hellorhighwater. ca) right across Canada, internationally, down to the states, to any and everybody that they know,” said Rotary Club President, Leslee Lucy. “We can only help as many people as the funding we have coming from the donations through Hell or High Water.” Hell or High Water is certainly ambitious in size but it was surprisingly easy to have that many people come on board and participate. “Initially when we started contacting recording artists, they basically went and got friends who got friends,” Girard Explained “With celebrity guest hosts, once they
to all who have and are continuing to work hard to save our homes and our community. It’s been a difficult year and because of all you, many still have a place to call home. I for one am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL! I urge everyone to SUPPORT this fundraising effort to HELP those affected.
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THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 17
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Flood victim denied by insurance and DFA
It was never disclosed to Rupert that there was an oil tank buried underneath the house upon purchase. Rochelle Rupert/Submitted
Morgan Hampton REPORTER@MERRITTHERALD.COM Thousands of people were forced from their homes when the Coldwater River rose to unprecedented levels and spilled its banks on Nov. 15, 2021. When flood waters receded, some residents were fortunate to return to undamaged homes, others had to undertake extensive repair and restoration work, and still others found that their homes had been swept away or destroyed. However, in Rochelle Rupert’s case, there is a limbo of being caught in between. Unable to live in her home as it is, unable to repair it, and unable to tear it down, Rupert has been caught
between insurance and Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA), receiving no help from either. Her story begins, like many others, being awoken by emergency personnel at 3:30AM on the morning of Nov. 15 at her home on Hamilton Ave. near Merritt Secondary School. “They didn’t come until about 3:30 in the morning to tell us to leave, and that was a pretty confusing experience because I didn’t really understand why the Coldwater was going to flood,” said Rupert. “I have two cats, and I had two chickens at the time but they both died in the flood because I couldn’t do anything
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with them at 3:30 in the morning. I’m pretty surprised that we didn’t have more warning than that. By 4:00 or 4:15 in the morning, the water was rushing onto the streets. I literally just had time to get both my cats and one suitcase of clothes before I decided to leave.” Confused, exhausted, and unsure where to evacuate to or how long she would be out of her home, Rupert went first to a friend’s house where she spent the remainder of the night. The next day she went to another friend’s house where she had to stay in the garage as her friend was allergic to cats. From there she went to a colleague’s house where she stayed for three days before going to Kamloops
HELP our residents get back into their homes, by HELPING the cause.
and staying in the basement of a former colleague for two weeks. When she was able to return to Merritt she moved into a basement before trying to stay in a borrowed RV trailer outside her home. Because there were a number of fans and dehumidifiers placing a significant strain on the power supply, she was unable to plug the trailer in, and the temperature dipped down to more than -20°C. Using a diesel generator, which required fuel every six hours, to run two space heaters which kept her from “freezing to death”, before returning to a friend’s basement. Unfortunately, that house is now going up for sale and once
See ‘OIL’ Page 18
to all the men and women working tirelessly in our communities during the recent fires and floods
to all who have worked so tirelessly to rebuild after a chaotic year of Fires and Floods
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18 • THURSDAY, March 10, 2022
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Oil spill costs woman hundreds of thousands in damage repair HELL or CLASS OF HIGH 2018 WATTER
LET’S HELP BRING EVERYONE HOME Rupert had moved from Ontario to Merritt where she bought her home. Rochelle Rupert/Submitted
www.millcreekdesign.ca • 250-378-6311
From Page 17
again, Rupert will be looking for a place to stay. In the meantime, Rupert, who still had water flowing through her house and yard on Nov. 16 when waters elsewhere began to recede, attempted to make an insurance claim. This was promptly denied as Rupert did not have overland flood insurance. The situation was only to get worse. “My biggest problem is that I don’t just have flood damage,” said Rupert. “In the 80s or 90s, someone converted the home www.canadiantire.ca from an oil furnace to a gas furnace, and they buried the oil tank, still full of oil, in the crawl space. When the 250-378-1818 flood waters came in they filled the tank with water and 2761 Forksdale Ave, Merritt BC pushed all of the remaining oil out of the tank, and then the oil floated on top of the water... My house didn’t flood from the outside, it flooded from the basement filling up so high. So, the basement completely filled with bring a sense of well being to those people displaced. water, the oil was floating on top of the water, and it got pushed through into the house.” However, Rupert had no idea this was the case when she first returned home, and she had already spent $10,000 gutting the interior of her house to fix what she 121-1700 Garcia St. Merritt, BC 250-378-9004 assumed was just water damage. Half of Rupert’s home sits on a dirt crawlspace and the other half sits on a cement basement. In the flood, river mud filled the basement and also contaminated the dirt of the crawl space, which began to mold within days. To clear this mess, Rupert brought in a hydrovac truck. “When we were cleaning up, taking out chunks of True Heroes and Warriors come in every size and shape. They work tirelessly to keep their communities and families safe. No words can express our appreciation. All we can do is say...
EVERY DONATION WILL HELP
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wood pieces and rock that got stuck in the hydrovac that was sucking up the mud, as we were doing this process, one of my friends said you know there’s an old oil tank back here, right?” Rupert had lived in the house for three years but had no idea that the oil tank was buried in her crawlspace. This had never been disclosed to her, and despite extensive plumbing work performed by the former owners in the basement, it is unclear whether they were aware of the issue either. Not even a pre-purchase home inspection gave Rupert any indication of the existence of the tank. “And then everything clicked,” said Rupert. “The smell, what I was seeing on the floors, I couldn’t understand. A few days after the flood I returned home to get some belongings, before they really cracked down, and when you opened the door it just smacked you in the face, this horrible smell.” Friends had been at Rupert’s house before she returned and began the process of pumping the water out, realizing after the tank was found that what they had witnessed in the strange colouration of the water and the odour was actually an oil slick. “We pumped all that water and mud onto my backyard,” said Rupert. Now, her home and entire lot have been contaminated, being considered not just a flood zone but an environmental hazard. Quotes from environmental remediation companies have been between $350,000 to $500,000, with one sending an employee from Kamloops. “When she saw the house she pretty much told me it
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HELL OR HIGH WATER
Local asks “Where is the help coming for the City of Merritt?” From Page 18 was a teardown,” said Rupert. “Everything I own smells like oil, there’s oil in the wood of the floors, oil in the wood of the walls. The whole house reeks of oil, you can smell it from outside even before you enter.” Although Rupert’s home is entirely unliveable, she was inexplicably removed from the evacuation order that otherwise includes the rest of her neighbourhood. Her home was initially yellow tagged, and her neighbour sent her a picture proving such, however, by the time Rupert was next at her house, the tag had disappeared. This was in December, and it was only a few weeks ago she was able to have the City return her to address to the evacuation order. In the meantime, Rupert was told her Red Cross supports were ending on Feb. 15, and despite filling out all of the appropriate paperwork and knowing that supports have now been extended to March 31, she has not heard back. The owner of the home where she is billeting has not been paid since Feb. 15. Although Samaritan’s Purse wouldn’t enter her home due to the overwhelming smell of oil, a project manager called Emergency Management BC to inquire about DFA on her behalf. At that time, she was informed DFA wouldn’t cover any damage related to the oil. “I don’t understand how they’re going to differentiate what was damaged from water vs. oil because the water was carrying the oil around the house, and the only reason the house was a total loss is because of the flood, and because the tank was flooded, otherwise this wouldn’t have happened, I wouldn’t have known about the tank still,” said Rupert. At the beginning of Dec., Rupert went ahead and applied for DFA anyway, but has yet to hear back. Still, even if DFA paid out the maximum 80% of the cost of damages, Rupert’s house was assessed at $243,000, which would amount to a pay out of $194,400. This would not even cover the $226,000 Rupert still owes on her mortgage. And even if she could come up with the remaining $31,600 the hundreds of thousands of dollars in remediation work would still need to be done before she could even begin to build a new home or sell the lot. Rupert also attempted to file a new insurance claim for oil damage rather than flooding, but more than a month later, her insurance company hasn’t given her an answer. “DFA wants to deny oil, and the insurance company
2021 was an unprecedented year of disasters. Your support will go a long way in helping those affected, recover from their losses. KATHERINE REIMER OWNER MASTER TAX PROFESSIONAL
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THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 19
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wants to deny the flood and I don’t know about the oil, but even if both of them would just cooperate and help me with this, I still don’t know if I could make this happen without several hundred thousand coming out of my own pocket,” said Rupert, who initially tried to be positive and grateful that her home didn’t float down the river. “All I can think now is that I wish it had. It would have been easier to deal with. Dealing with an environmental contamination like this is just going to be years of headache and money.” Perhaps most heartbreaking is that this home represented a fresh start for Rupert. When her mother passed five years ago, everything was left to her stepfather except an RRSP which was divided between Rupert and her sisters. From this Rupert received $60,000. Immediately following her mother’s death, Rupert’s boyfriend at the time convinced her to purchase a house with him. Three months after receiving $40,000 from Rupert, he kicked her out of the house and informed her that she was not on the title and would not be receiving a dime of her money back. Rupert took the remaining $20,000 and moved from Ottawa, Ontario to Merritt, where she put a downpayment on her home on Hamilton Ave. A home that will never be lived in again. Without a lot of assistance from somewhere, Rupert will remain stuck in a nearly unsolvable problem for years. At this point, she has considered giving up on everything she has worked for and walking away from the house, defaulting on her mortgage in the process. “I don’t know what else to do, without half a million dollars I can’t do anything,” said Rupert. “My credit will go down to nothing, and the way that the market is right now without being able to sell a home and have equity back and have a downpayment for a new home, there’s no way that I’ll be able to re enter the market again.” Although she is reluctant to return to renting after being a homeowner, availability is almost nonexistent anyway. Rupert has only seen two pet friendly rentals that would accept her and her cats since the flooding, one was $1,300/month and the other $3,000/month. Both were rented within days. “I’m wondering where the governments are in all of this, where is the help coming for the City of Merritt?” Rupert questioned. “I just want to go home.”
When you are running away from an EMERGENCY First Responders are running towards it.
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for putting your lives on the line everyday. HATS OFF to all first responders who puts their own life at risk to save others.
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We would like to express our appreciation and admiration for all who helped during 2021 Floods and Wildfires A message from the
Scw’exmx Tribal Council
20 • THURSDAY, March 10, 2022
HELL OR HIGH WATER
ESS volunteer helps evacuees amidst own displacement
ESS volunteer Bonnie Horel was also a victim of the November 2021 floods Bonnie Horel/Submitted
Morgan Hampton REPORTER@ MERRITTHERALD.COM Emergency Support Services (ESS) provides short-term, basic supports to people who have been impacted by disasters such as the wildfires and floods that caused widespread destruction in the Nicola Valley and surrounding areas in 2021. Bonnie Horel has been volunteering, almost entirely by accident, with
ESS since 2019, during that year’s wildfire season. “I just walked in one day and asked is there anything I can do, and Lonni (Boszco), who heads up ESS in this area, she started talking to me and asked if I would come in and do registrations,” explained Horel. “She wanted my background in social work.” Since that time, Horel has been a steady vol-
Some people run from problems Others run to them....
unteer with ESS and has assisted hundreds of people who, in many cases, are experiencing the worst event of their lives. “You’re dealing with people at a very stressful point in their life,” said Horel. “They come in and you don’t really know what you’re getting when they walk through the door. You have some people that are in control and very capable, you have some people that have no control and no skills, they just really don’t know where to turn and what to do, and as a volunteer, part of what we have to do is find out what they do need.” ESS volunteers register evacuees and then determine what, if anything, they may need. This could include things as urgent as shelter and food, and other everyday essentials such as toiletries and clothing. Attending to the evacuees emotional and mental needs, however, is often where the real work
takes place, requiring much commitment from the volunteers. “I’ve had people break down, come in really strong and within ten minutes of talking to them they’re a puddle of tears and they’re broken,” said Horel. “You have to try to pull them together, pick up the pieces and try to bring some calm to their life. They’re tired, exhausted. When the Lytton fire happened, those poor people came in and they were going from centre to centre because every time they went to another centre, the fire was so out of control that that centre got evacuated. They were tired of running, they were scared.” This can place quite the toll on volunteers, who may hear the stories and absorb the tragedies and hardships of dozens of people in one shift. “You’ve got a lot on your plate when you’re dealing with all of the different emotions that are running through
people,” said Horel, who praises Boszco for acting as a “mother hen” and ensuring all volunteers are taking care of themselves and receiving the support they need. “It’s quite emotionally draining on the volunteers, you get home at the end of the day and you’re exhausted, not from physical work but just mentally and emotionally you’ve been taxed all day, listening to people’s stories, the heartbreak.” Horel is well versed in assisting others, drawing on her experience as an Interior Community Support Worker, supporting the most vulnerable in the community, such as those with disabilities or mental health issues. Horel knows the importance of being a good listener and applies this to her work with ESS. “You need to listen, you need to let them get it out of their system, let them talk about it,” said Horel. “That’s the first step to healing, is to be able to
talk about it. I let them teach me about them. They’re the experts on their situation and I’m the student. They teach me what they’ve gone through.” Horel was on the other side of the equation when her own home flooded in Nov. 2021, juggling being an evacuee herself and still working with ESS to assist others. Fortunately, the close relationships she had formed with other volunteers gave her some people to lean on. “We’ve formed a bit of a family,” said Horel of the ESS team. “I can’t say enough about ESS, when there is a disaster or something happens whether it’s flood, fire, house fire, whatever and that call comes in, all hands on deck, everybody shows up. Everybody. Merritt ESS in particular, in the past we’ve handled so much more than the larger centres like Kelowna or Kamloops. It’s a well oiled machine, what ESS does. They do a very good job.”
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HELL OR HIGH WATER
THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 21
City of Merritt explores six sites for post flood housing solutions
The City is exploring 3D printed homes as one of several options for alleviating the housing shortage that was intensified by the 2021 flood.. Greg Lowis/City of Merritt
Morgan Hampton REPORTER@MERRITTHERALD.COM Following a devastating flood that saw thousands of people evacuated from the city and hundreds of homes damaged, the City of Merritt is looking to get creative when it comes to interim housing solutions. “We had a housing crisis before the floods and the flood has only deteriorated this much further,” said Andrew Nielsen, Housing Coordinator for the City of Merritt during a Public Information Session on March 3. Although roughly 900 people remain displaced, the estimated number of homes considered a total loss is around 100, with approximately 57 of those being mobile homes. Footage of one such mobile home floating first down the Coldwater and then Nicola River was widely circulated on social media in the days following the flooding.
TOGETHER we RISE
MLA Jackie Tegart
Fraser Nicola 2–2152 Quilchena Ave., Merritt, BC 250 378-8831 Jackie.Tegart.MLA@leg.bc.ca
“Our goal is to bring 100 new homes into Merritt in the coming months,” said Nielsen. Six potential sites have been considered by the City for this purpose. “Our first priority was of course temporary, short term housing,” said Nielsen. Site 1 and 2 off of Douglas St. were put forward as an ideal location for oilfield, camp style housing. As it was near both the downtown and the flood impacted areas, residents would have access to necessities and be located not far from their damaged homes. “Unfortunately, this proposal was unsuccessful in funding from the province,” said Nielsen, although the reason for this was not mentioned during the Information Session. Site 3, a 1.1ha strip of property near Quilchena Ave., will be utilized for small footprint, 3D printed homes, created in partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Thank you to all the helping hands raising funds, so everyone can go HOME!
“Our goal is to use a 3D printer that can produce homes about 600 square feet in size, so they would be classified as a tiny home,” said Nielsen. “The printer is able to produce these homes at a rate of about one every 48 hours using just a printer and a crew of one to two people.” A similar structure was constructed near Nelson, BC, and is the world’s first 3D printed concrete tiny home on Airbnb. The 3D printed tiny homes would meet many of the National Housing Strategy principles by being net zero, highly insulated and have the ability to be supplemented with solar energy, if necessary. The City hopes to have 18 to 20 of these homes completed this year. Site 4, off of Voght St. near the Coldwater River is currently being reviewed by the City. Site 5, next to the Diamondvale Mobile Home Park, has been selected as a potential new neighbourhood. Development
Disaster Recovery is a community undertaking
No one should have to take a crack at it alone 250.378.5634 firstname.lastname@example.org
work was started in the area roughly eight years ago, meaning water, sewer, and natural gas services are available. The City hopes to work with the landowners, the province and a modular home company to bring 40 homes online in this neighbourhood, beginning this summer. Site 6 is the Diamondvale Mobile Home Park, which currently has 41 sites available for mobile homes. “It would go a long way to replacing or adding to the Merritt inventory of the 57 mobile homes that were lost in the flood,” said Neilsen. Alternatively, the park can support roughly 80 RV camper trailer units, which is a form of housing the City is encouraging residents to utilize as a means of coping with the housing shortage. In addition, much of the city is zoned R2, which would allow for a laneway or carriage home. “I encourage you to work with building services to find something that works on your lot,” said Neilsen.
22 • THURSDAY, March 10, 2022
THANK YOU to all the supporters and sponsors of the
HELL OR HIGH WATER telethon!
NMV LUMBER LTD., MERRITT BC
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The tireless efforts of our community will help all of Merritt get BACK HOME!
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Scouts to donate care packages on March 12
The scouts have established multiple avenues to receive donations from both in person and online. Photo/Azlim Rajwani
Izaiah Reyes NEWSROOM@MERRITTHERALD.COM The 13th Burnaby Scouts have organized a donation drive to give goods to the people of Merritt. The scouts would be handing out a total of 150 care packages to victims of the flood on March 12 at the Railyard Mall parking lot. “We agreed that it would be a worthy cause to build up on.” says KIan Sonawala, 16, who together with his brother, Aahil, 14, have brought the idea of the drive to their scout group. “We needed help from a team, we couldn’t just do it alone.” Sonawala along with the rest of the scouts started handing out flyers in their neighbourhood, in local parks, and to local businesses to raise money and awareness for their drive. The group also collected donations online
Nicola Valley & District Metis Society
Nicola Valley & District Metis are one with all effected by the flooding. May we all be home soon. If you would like more information on our society please call 250-378-5015 or 250-378-0076 email: email@example.com • Facebook: Nicola Valley Metis
through an Amazon wishlist of household items donors could donate and a Gofundme link where they have raised over $1400. Since starting the project, other scouts have also joined in for their cause. “We plan to give out 100 bags and because of our alliance with the Fort Langley Scouts we decided to raise that to 150,” Sonawala said. The City of Merritt and the Disaster Management team, and Merritt Support Centre have coordinated with the scouts to organize the drive. The 13th Burnaby Scouts will be at the Railyard Mall parking lot on March 12, Saturday at 2 PM. Donations will be handed out on a first come first serve basis. The scouts are still welcoming donations through their Amazon and GoFundMe links seen below. https://gofund.me/d66d8e22 https://www.amazon.ca/hz/wishlist/ ls/36OX0NGECBL2T?ref_=wl_fv_le
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THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 23
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Catastrophic flooding in BC will have long-term detrimental impacts
A BC Hydro power pole that was washed away from the community in Shackan has ended up in Boundary Bay. Photo/(Herald file photo)
Jacob Cardinal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter (ANNews) – Back in November, a major storm in B.C. has caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides within the province, causing mass-destruction to highways and supply chains. Atmospheric Rivers The storm that hit B.C. is known as an “atmospheric river,” which is a large stream of water vapour that can stretch up to 1,600 km long and 640 km wide. According to research at the University of California, these types of storms on average hold an amount of water equivalent to 25 Mississippi rivers. While these storms provide large portions of moisture for many regions across the globe, atmospheric rivers can become dangerous depending on their strength and duration. Farnworth also added that there have been almost a dozen atmospheric rivers since mid-September. “Having several destructive storms in a row is not anywhere near normal,” he said.
Multiple areas across the entire province have been heavily impacted by the flooding and are on a race against time to repair damages and to prep for the next set of storms. Crews in the Sumas Prairie, an area which has seen many displaced peoples and thousands of animal deaths, are working to repair and strengthen their dike; the military has entered Princeton to help sandbag and protect the area from more flooding; and the route situation between Merritt and Spences bridge “remain very dire,” said Farnworth. The impact on Indigenous Peoples Many Indigenous peoples in B.C. were critically impacted by the flooding and mudslides, with numerous communities becoming isolated from the rest of the province. The Shackan First Nation in B.C.’s Nicola Valley was evacuated, with roads and bridges connecting the reserve to the province being completely washed away. Chief Arnold Lampreau said it could take years before the infrastructure is rebuilt to allow residents to return. The Chawathil First Nation is currently being assisted by the military after the Nation was cut off from power, Internet, and connection to the outside world due to the flooding and highway closures. There are many more First Nations in the province that have been severely affected by the floods, said Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief of the Union of the B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). “I’ve been on Zoom calls for the last three or four days, listening to stories directly from the chiefs of communities that have been devastated,” he explained. “It’s all over.” “This cannot be framed within traditional notions of a one-time weather event, where we simply make superficial repairs to transportation infrastructure and then expect things to be OK,” said Phillip. “The devastation will have very serious long-term detrimental impacts on the land itself.”
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for your tireless service during the flood and wildfires.
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24 • THURSDAY, March 10, 2022
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Province commits $18.4 million to Lytton recovery
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The additional aid will cover costs for debris removal from more than 200 properties Photo/Province of BC
Morgan Hampton REPORTER@MERRITTHERALD.COM The Province is committing a further $18.4 million for the recovery of Lytton. This funding will cover the substantial costs of debris removal, archeological work and soil remediation for municipal and all uninsured and underinsured properties in the village. “By supporting debris removal, we are literally clearing the way for the rebuilding of Lytton to begin in a tangible way,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We are doing everything possible to speed up the progress and support the community through the very challenging and ongoing task of rebuilding Lytton.
This recovery is a partnership, and the Province continues to have the backs of the people of Lytton.” To help the village and residents of Lytton get to the rebuilding stage, the Province will pay for the removal of debris including ash, soot, metals, bricks, and other building materials from more than 200 properties. The debris removal will start with municipal properties on Tuesday, March 8, and expand to residential properties when that work is completed. “Our government is continuing to take steps to support the village and residents of Lytton in rebuilding,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs.
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THURSDAY, March 10, 2022 • 25
HELL OR HIGH WATER
Lytton to receive large provincial aid 3499 Voght Street, Merritt, BC Entrance at the front of the Royal Lepage building.
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ESS volunteer Bonnie Horel was also a victim of the November 2021 floods Photo/2 Rivers Remix Society
From Page 24 “This $18 million in new funding will pave the way for people to return to their homes by funding critical debris removal, archeological, and site remediation work.” Following the debris removal, the Province will co-ordinate and fund archeological work that would otherwise be covered by the residents. This is an area of cultural importance, and this work aims to identify and preserve any findings in the area, and further reconciliation and collaborative resource management between the Nlaka’pamux Nation and the Province. This new funding will also address costs of reme-
diation work to transform the ground into new livable space. Soil remediation will remove any contaminants from the ground and restore the landscape into a safe site where the village and residents can rebuild. To keep work moving forward, the Province is funding temporary accommodations for as many as 30 staff, consultants and construction workers, who are doing this work. In addition, this funding will support project management, engineering design work and security. This new funding complements the $9.3 million the Province has recently provided to support Lytton’s ongoing operations and recovery. The village site will be ready for the next phase of rebuilding, such as permitting, this fall.
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