by Barbara Roden
Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta says that he hopes initial geotech surveys conducted in Cache Creek on Tuesday will enable the Village to lift the evacuation order on some properties as soon as possible, so that people can have access to their homes.
“Geotech crews were in the Village on the ground and in the air today,” he said on Tuesday. “We want people to be able to get back into their homes, so they can retrieve their possessions.”
Disaster financial assistance people were meeting with council at 5pm Tuesday, in advance of a public meeting scheduled for 6pm. Ranta said that he couldn’t praise the provincial emergency response highly enough. He was also pleased that Premier Christy Clark, after a visit to the village, has made a commitment to Council to extend the Emergency Social Services funding, which usually runs out after 24 hours if a resident not under evacuation notice has not returned to his or her home.
“The Premier will ensure that the funding availability is extended to people who are fearful about returning to their homes,” said Ranta. “She said that we need to ensure that, as a province, we err on the side of compassion.” He praised Clark for visiting the village in the aftermath of Saturday’s flooding. “I think her visit was a significant comfort and support to the people of Cache Creek, and is an indication of the scale of the disaster.”
Ranta also praised the many volunteers who have come forward to help out. “Hope, Clinton, 100 Mile, and Clearwater have all contacted us to offer equipment and manpower,” he said. “The Village of Ashcroft has also graciously sent men and equipment to assist in the cleanup, and has indicated they will not be asking for payment if provincial relief funding does not cover the cost. I think this will make for stronger relations between neighbours.”
The many people who have stepped up to volunteer their services has been heartwarming, the Mayor said. “We’ve had people from as far away as Abbotsford and Langley stopping by the Village Office to ask how they can help.” There are so many volunteers, in fact, that for the moment they outstrip demand. The Village will be asking affected residents to register if they need volunteers to come and clear debris or offer support, so that supply can be matched to demand.
“This is an unbelievably devastating event in our history,” Ranta said, “but it will make us stronger.”