From Loon Lake Road – TNRD information meetings well received

Barbara Hendricks' monthly column on community news and events on Loon Lake Road.

The long, hot summer by the lake

A few practised folk will be able to find fault with July weather at Loon Lake, but for me it is the summer I looked forward to all winter. The cool, green mornings are so fresh and the chirpy greetings from the hummingbirds always make me smile.  The sun and heat encourage growth in plants and laziness in people. Reading, relaxing, card games and other less vigorous pursuits in the heat of the day are followed by chores in the cool evening such as harvesting the bounty from the garden and mowing the grass. A tour out on the water in the evening is also a good way to enjoy Loon Lake at this time of the year.

By mid month people began to turn their thinking toward the hazards of wildfires, and the incidents at Ashcroft Manor and other nearby places reinforced the reality of the danger. The Cariboo Fire Centre has issued an open fire ban which includes a ban on fireworks, however the campfire ban that was issued on July 16 was withdrawn a week later. By the time this paper is out perhaps it will be back in place again – so do watch and listen for information.

Water, emergencies and garbage

On July 30 TNRD Director Sally Watson hosted several information meetings for the community; one dealt with issues of water quality and other concerns for those residents who are hooked up to the Loon Lake water system while the second meeting addressed emergency management and other issues of concern to Loon Lake residents.

The meetings were well attended with around 45 residents present and much information was exchanged, leaving residents with a desire for more meetings with TNRD staff and more information.

TNRD staff, including Ron Storie, Director of Community Services, were in attendance with information and answered questions on many different issues relating to a possible emergency as well as other issues such as the request for a “share shack” at the transfer station, the concern about water levels in Loon Lake, the withdrawal of the campfire ban, the closing of the Clinton and District TV Society as well as comments on the budget.

The openness of the TNRD staff and their willingness to engage in conversations with residents resulted in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where people began to open up and ask more questions. While some residents are still unclear about which service falls under which jurisdiction, it is only with information and discussion that they will become better informed and discussions can move on to another level. Director Sally Watson has indicated that she plans to continue to hold these kinds of “Town Hall” meetings at Loon Lake at frequent intervals and I urge everyone to come out and join in the talks, it is our local government and everyone’s point of view counts.

The highlight of the meeting for me and many others was the statement from the Director of Environmental Services, Peter Hughes, that the Loon Lake Transfer Station will NOT be closed. He said that now that they have completed the mandate of the Board to close the requisite number of transfer stations, they will start to look at levels of service and improvements, as funding permits. There was a lively discussion around our transfer station showing just how very much it means to all residents. In the minds of most this is the primary TNRD service provided at Loon Lake Road at this time.

TV service

You may have missed the notice in the paper about the Clinton and District TV Society closing. In fact, you may have missed knowing that there was a Clinton and District TV Society except for one little line item on your property tax bill. With the closing of the Society that line item will also disappear.

In place of the free over the air TV, a Local Television Satellite Solution has been set in place whereby residents of Loon Lake can apply, through Shaw, for a satellite dish, receiver and installation free of charge which will allow them to view several local stations including Global BC, CBC west and Knowledge Network with no monthly subscription fees. To be eligible for this the resident must not have been subscribed to a satellite or cable service in the past 90 days.

While there is no charge for the TV usage, Shaw will charge for repairs after the first 90 days. When the satellite dish or receiver stops working you will have to pay for any new equipment.

For further information call 1-866-782-7345. Applications close at the end of November 2014. This could be a good solution for many summer home owners who do not want a long term agreement with a service provider.

Preparing for an emergency

The discussion of emergency management at the meeting on July 30 was a good start as it gave us a better idea in very broad terms of what to expect in case of an emergency requiring evacuation. It led me to consider just how well prepared I am in case there is a threat that results in an evacuation order.

In short – I am not prepared; but by the end of this week I will be much closer to being prepared. I have been much better prepared for a situation whereby I would need to stay in for some weeks without outside supplies. In the 110 years of permanent settlement along Loon Lake Road there has never been any need to evacuate people. On the other hand, there have been numerous instances of the residents being cut off from “outside” either by heavy snows and ice or more frequently by flooding, resulting in the road being washed out. The last big washout was in 1991 when HiHium flooded and took out the road in the canyon. For weeks residents had to stay put or use the forest service roads out to the 70 Mile. During my school days, the school year often ended the first week in June for Loon Lake students when the road or bridges were washed out and no school bus could run. In those days pretty well everyone who lived here only went out for supplies once or twice a month so it really was no emergency.

In my research on getting prepared I found a  Government of Canada website which is very informative with loads of useful information and checklist on getting prepared, building a basic emergency kit (www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/kts/bsc-kt-eng.aspx ), preparing for emergencies with pets, and an information sheet “How to prepare for a wildfire” ( www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/wldfrs-bfr-eng.aspx)  among other emergency situations. There are also many other useful hints  on this site, such as to move your propane barbeque away from the house, close all vents and windows and take down flammable awnings, shades and screens before you evacuate in the case of a wildfire.

There is much very useful information on this site, more than can be included here. As a group, the people of Loon Lake and our local government should try to work together to have the information on this website printed and made available to every resident and visitor, as many local residents do not have the internet connection to allow them to access this information on line.

Barbara Hendricks

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