I am writing to express a deep, heartfelt thanks to the volunteers from the Canadian Red Cross who have kept Loon Lake Road residents on their radar, and are continuing to contact residents to find out how they are managing and offering assistance where possible.
At a time when we were beginning to feel forgotten and abandoned, a group of Red Cross volunteers packed up their office and came out to Loon Lake Road in the cold and freezing rain in January to meet face to face with residents. Red Cross volunteers have called me several times in the last month to ask how I am doing, and the volunteers returned again on February 20 to talk to anyone who felt the need to have a chat. How good it feels that someone does care.
Loon Lake Road residents and property owners were very seriously affected by the Elephant Hill wildfire, which burned infrastructure, homes, and the land. This devastation was accompanied by a nearly six-week evacuation period throughout July and August, with the resulting loss of crops and income. Ranchers and resort owners are struggling, and still pondering whether to go on or to pack it in.
Recovery seems so far away, and darker thoughts raise the question “Is it really possible to stay in business?” While provincial government officials dealing with the damage caused by the wildfire and back-burns, and the small business assistance through the Red Cross, have been very helpful, this assistance cannot fix everything, and it may be several years before contractors get around to doing the work needed on fencing and re-establishing grazing lands.
Many residents are experiencing health issues, undoubtedly magnified by the stress and worry of the fire, evacuation, heavy smoke, and then returning to a place where hope and renewal seems in such short supply. The community needs its agriculture and tourism as a source of income, taxation, and for the food produced. Also, these people are good neighbours: always there to help. We have been able to enjoy good quality local produce thanks to the work of these neighbours. The loss of summer grazing and the inability to produce sufficient winter feed just may be the last straw that shuts down some of our neighbours’ ranches, and that is worrying for all.
Meanwhile, these Red Cross volunteers have brought a message of hope and caring to the people of Loon Lake Road, and I thank them for that. Spring will come. Already newborn calves dot the home feeding grounds of ranches, and seed orders are in the mail. Better times and more light will come.
Loon Lake Road, B.C.
My compliments to Sgt. Curtis Davis for the Lytton police report. It’s a good read, and keeps us well informed of the human comedy down south. It’s never boring, and deserves the space it gets in The Journal.
It’s a little disappointing that Sgt. Kathleen Thain of the Ashcroft police force does not appear to have acquired the skill; but it’s never too late to learn. Please, give us more than statistics. Nothing can be more boring.