Premier sees disaster first hand: Premier Christy Clark was in Cache Creek to survey the damage caused by May 23’s freak storm. She and MLA Jackie Tegart talked to residents affected by the flooding and looked at the broken infratructure on Stage Rd. Public Works Foreman Steve Peacock (blue shirt)

2015 in REVIEW: May

A look back at 2015 from the pages of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.

Dignitaries dress up for Clinton Ball

The 148th Clinton Ball was held Saturday, May 16 even as tickets were being sold for the 150th Ball in 2017.

The theme for the 2015 Annual Ball was Camels in the Cariboo, a tribute to the failed attempt to use camels as pack animals during the gold rush in the 1860s. Camel pictures and cut-outs and original artwork by the Clinton elementary students who wrote and illustrated a book about the camels decorated the walls of the hall.

Mayor Jim Rivett welcomed the dignitaries, that included MP Cathy McLeod and her husband Gord; MLA Jackie Tegart (Fraser Nicola); MLA Eric Foster (Vernon-Monashee) and his wife; Mayor Rivett’s wife Christine; TNRD Area E Director Sally Watson and Ken; Cache Creek Mayor John Mayor John Ranta and his wife, Carmen Ranta, chair of School District 74 board of education; Ashcroft Mayor Jack Jeyes; Ashcroft Coun. Doreen Lambert; 100 Mile House Coun. Bill Hadden and Clinton councillors Diana Guerin and husband Chris, Susan Swan and husband Greg and Wayne Marchant and friend Lily.

Water Treatment Plant Grand Opening

The Village of Clinton hosted the Grand Opening of their new Water Treatment Plant on May 20.

Completed and operational since December of 2014, the new treatment plant eliminated the need for community wide boil water alerts that had become the norm in Clinton.

Funded entirely by a $2.45 million contribution from the federal Gas Tax Fund, the plant enables the Village to provide clean and clear potable water to 1,500 residents and businesses.

Flash flood causes devastation

Hail fell from the sky on May 23 between 4-6 pm while water coursed down the surrounding hillsides and then streets, etching new pathways and leaving a path of muddy destruction in Cache Creek.

The flooding was caused by an estimated 30 to 40 millimetres of rain that fell on Cache Creek in less than one hour.

The force of the water moved at least three residences off of their foundations, caused the evacuation of one trailer park and put several homes under evacuation alert. One hundred and twenty-six residents registered with local Emergency Social Services, representing 60 impacted homes.

Several other homes, the school, a motel and at least two restaurants reported water and mud damage, mostly to basements.

Storm-caused torrents severely undercut a large part of Stage Rd., a portion of the bridge crossing Hwy 1 by the Husky,  and several private properties.

The downpour rolled off the hillsides and gathered mud and debris, flowing into dry creekbeds and then onto Stage Rd. where it flowed like another river, spreading mud and debris along its path all the way down to to Hwy 1. Cache creek overflowed because of the debris buildup, sending eight inches of mud into the nearby firehall and covering that section of Quartz Rd. On Old Cariboo Rd., the mud and rock came down off the hills lining the road and pushed trailers and out buildings in the  Riverside trailer park away from their foundations.

The next day, Mayor John Ranta issued a state of emergency for the Village, followed by an Evacuation Alert and also an Evacuation Order for four different sites within the Village.

Flooding closes highways

Water and debris from the unexpected flash flood in Cache Creek on May 23 flooded highways 1 and 97.

Area creeks broke their banks and diverted from their normal path onto sloping streets, creating rivers of water, mud and debris flowing through several areas of the Village.

Kamloops and 100 Mile House Search and Rescue were activated as there were initial reports of people being swept away in the flood, but those reports were unfounded.

Traffic was halted and the highways were closed for over an hour until it stopped raining and the three to four inches of water on the roads dissipated.

Clark sees damage

Premier Christy Clark, along with MLA Jackie Tegart, visited Cache Creek on May 26, looking at the worst hit areas of Saturday’s flood and talking to residents.

“Unbelievable is the only work I can think of,” said Clark. “It’s a desert community. People don’t expect to see these huge events. They are justifiably shocked.”

She announced that her government would be extending Emergency Social Services support for those residents affected by the flood.

“I’m really concerned about the community as a whole, and the safety of everyone,” said Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart. “But the support systems on the ground are impressive, and the community is rallying around to make sure that those who need help get it.”

Tegart added that disaster finance designation is critical for those without insurance, to help cover essentials.

Help from Ashcroft

The Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department was one of the first emergency services to arrive in Cache Creek after receiving a request for mutual aid. Ten members responded to the 6pm call, and remained in Cache Creek until nearly 11pm.

“It was a trying time for the residents,” said Ashcroft Fire Chief Josh White, “but the way in which everyone responded was exemplary, considering the scope of the emergency and how spread out we all were.”

Piles of mud and debris washed from the Cache Creek that flows alongside the Cache Creek Fire Hall blocked the doors, making it impossible to get the Village’s emergency vehicles out.

Ashcroft CAO Michelle Allen said that the Village of Ashcroft provided two dump trucks and a backhoe, along with a three-man crew, to assist in the cleanup on Monday and Tuesday. “The offer still stands of any help that we can provide,” she added.

Town cleans up, assesses damage

The evacuation order for the Riverside Trailer Park and most other areas of town was lifted on May 28 after a slope analysis on Valleyview Drive and along Old Cariboo Road confirmed that all of the debris on the hills had been washed away in the flood, leaving only bedrock behind.

Damaged residences had visible red, yellow or green cards placed in their windows – the colour indicated the estent of the damage in the residence.

Red cards indicated structural damage that needed to be fixed before the owners could move back in; the amber cards indicated the owners could live in them while carrying out repairs although they may be without services.

Environment Canada called it a once in a hundred year rainfall event.

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