Flood relief cheques start to go out

Public donations for Cache Creek flood victims are starting to be sent out.

Cache Creek has begun to release the donations that were collected for the victims of the May 23 flash flood.

An unusually long and heavy rain dropped 20mm in less than an hour over the Village, washing out parts of roads, dislodging foundations and depositing mud from the surrounding hillsides everywhere. Some people reported three or more feet of mud in their basements.

With the assistance of BlackPress4Good and the United Way, approximately $260,000 was raised for people who were impacted. The Village selected volunteers to form a committee to review applications and approve funding.

Thirty-five applications were received, with funding requests that totalled just over $500,000.

The applicants were asking for compensation for things like furnaces and hot water tanks, flooring, drywalling, fencing, mud and debris removal that they had to pay for, garage doors and other items that were damaged beyond use.

None of the damage was covered by house insurance, and some people were denied provincial funding.

Mary-Lou Jylha lost her home in the Riverside trailer park on Old Cariboo Rd. She was one of the appliants.

“We are very grateful for the assistance that we received from the flood relief donations, and would like to thank all the people who helped raise the donations and the committee,” she said. “We are applying the money we received to the mortgage of the trailer that we lost. That will help us to recover from the flood and to move forward in our future.”

“My life is back to about as normal as it’s going to get,” she added. “The flood effected my life in ways that it will never be the same. I no longer enjoy the sound of rain on a tin roof, and make myself remain calm in a rain storm.

“I was in shock after the first five minutes, and that shock was still with me for approx eight to 10 weeks later. I will never forget the extent of the flood in Cache Creek, – it was the most horrifying event I’ve been through.”

Jylha was rescued by a quick-thinking neighbour who saw her struggling outside her trailer in hip-deep water.

“Thank-you for the opportunity to help me put this event behind me and concentrate on my future,” she said. “To me, this is closure. It’s done.”

“From a council perspective we’ve approved about $175000 for 27 recipients so far,” said Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta.

There are still more applications to be approved.

“While I have been asked by a few who got how much, that information we’re not releasing,” he said. “We need to protect the privacy of individuals.”

He said Council is waiting for the committee to approve the rest of the applications.

“It’s amazing the effort that individuals and the community have undertaken after the flood,” he said.

Even as the rain was still falling, people could tell that others were in distress and came to their assistance. The Ashcroft Fire Dept. came to help out as emergency vehicles were responding to calls of broken gas lines and exposed services.

Many people pitched to help in the following days to clean up the mud and other debris. Ashcroft and Skeetchestn sent equipment and operators and many of the paid contractors donated either time or money – or both – to the community. Besides local help, volunteers came from far and wide to help the residents dig out.

The Village is still working to restore some of the damaged areas with provincial funding, which pays for 80 per cent of the projects it deems eligible.

“There’s only so much you can do to prevent such an emergency from happening again,” said Ranta.

One of the pre-restoration reports by consultants called it a one in 200 year event.

“We can’t say that it won’t happen again next year,” he said.

He said there was some consideration given to adding culverts along Stage Rd., but they couldn’t determine for sure that more culverts would solve anything.

“How much protection can a community put in?” he asked. “It’s a huge investment in taxpayer’s money that might sit idle for 199 years. We do what we can.”

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