Media on a tour of the Boston Flats Trailer Park 10 days after most of it was destroyed. A committee is providing ongoing assistance to residents, but there are hurdles in the way of rebuilding. Photo: Barbara Roden.

Relief and assistance for Boston Flats residents ongoing

A committee is helping residents get the help they need, and collecting goods and money for them.

By Ron Hood

At the regular meeting of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Rotary Club on November 2, the club received a presentation from Phyllis Rainey and Joyce Beddow, two of the five members of the Boston Flats Trailer Park Fire Aid committee.

In response to the near-total destruction of the Boston Flats trailer park in the Elephant Hill wildfire in July 2017, the committee established a fund and a process primarily to aid the individuals and families whose homes were destroyed and who were without insurance. The group is dealing today with 40 people who owned 27 of the 46 units that were destroyed, and who had very little opportunity to save belongings: those who lost, lost everything.

Only three units in the park were left standing, but they suffered significant smoke damage. See drone footage of the aftermath of the fire at http://bit.ly/2AlO6rO.

READ MORE: A “wonderful community” say Boston Flats Trailer Park managers

Along with cash donations and support from other agencies, the group has accumulated a significant amount of furniture, household effects, and clothing. As most of the people affected are in temporary accommodation, all of the donated goods must be maintained in storage until replacement homes are sited. There is a continuing cost for this storage, and considerable volunteer time devoted to sorting and to minor repairs.

READ MORE: 4-wheel drive convoy brings second load of donations to Ashcroft for those who lost homes

From an operational standpoint, the intent is to keep the fund, and the activities, open for one year. Expenditures have been for necessities, relocation assistance, and storage of donated items.

As a result of the committee’s activities, all of the victims have been effectively relocated: some in apartments, some in independent living facilities, some in private homes with friends or relatives, and some as “house-sitters” while owners are away for the winter.

As it turned out, it wasn’t all about money. People needed personal help: where to live, who and what agencies to contact, how to navigate the paperwork and endless phone calls, and someone with whom to vent to express anger and frustration. There were also social needs, which the committee members have been tending by hosting events and gatherings, and keeping neighbours in touch with one another.

Other agencies such as the Red Cross and United Way have been extremely helpful, and the committee members have done considerable research and negotiation for victims. Even though things are “in place” at the moment, there is still the issue of people getting back into their own homes in their own neighbourhood. Some issues have arisen, however:

• The owners of the park are committed to reopening, but are being delayed by new regulations and building codes (for example, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District now requires mobile home lots to be larger than they were when the park was originally built, so the infrastructure has to be reconfigured and all-new permits have to be obtained);

• Some people have already ordered their new homes, but they may be ready for delivery before the park is authorized to accept them;

• There will continue to be financial needs to get people properly re-established; and

• Once the park is ready to be occupied, there is still the matter of finishing the units (skirting, landscaping, parking, etc.). In this regard, local contractors have already committed to a work-bee to provide free labour for skirting the new units.

Even though the fire is over, there is still a lot of work to be done to re-establish the lives of those who lost everything. Most of what has yet to be done is now on hold until spring: just another devastating consequence for the unfortunate few, and a longer time commitment for the few dedicated volunteers who are working so hard to provide for them.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Quite a few tears’ as quilts distributed to those affected by last summer’s fire

Local quilters leapt into action to provide quilts for Ashcroft Reserve and Boston Flats residents.

South Cariboo Kinsmen donate to local fire departments

Ashcroft and Cache Creek fire departments each receive $1,100 from Kinsmen annual Turkey Bingo.

NDIT ‘State of the North’ report highlights importance of small businesses

Median wages in Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet lower than elsewhere, but housing relatively affordable.

Family Literacy Week is coming: What’s on Your Plate?

A variety of activities will be taking place in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and Spences Bridge.

Local News Briefs: Cars on Ice returns to Barnes Lake

Plus the CRA scam has resurfaced, games night returns to UniTea, Holiday Train success, and more.

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Players sought for National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

ISPARC calls for bantam/midget players to register for selection camp in Kamloops

New funding opens for industry innovation

Northern Development Initiative Trust opened new funds, focused on areas impacted by the pine beetle

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read