Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Readers write about keeping fire hazards down, and why the Ashcroft Hospital closed during the fire.

Dear Editor,

The recent (and ongoing) Elephant Hill wildfire has shown us all where our strengths and weaknesses lie. Hopefully we will all take this opportunity to work individually, collectively, and cooperatively to make the necessary and positive changes for the safety and betterment of all.

On July 18, as chair of Ashcroft Communities in Bloom, I toured our village with the visiting judges. It was understood that for several days after the fire, residents may not have watered as they believed Stage 4 watering restrictions were in effect.

However, these watering restrictions were lifted within days of the fire, and a recent pass through the village showed quite a number of residences with brown lawns, and boulevards with many dry, dead weeds.

As noted at the recent public meeting, these are fire hazards. Dry grass and weeds catch fire and burn very quickly. With the hot, dry, unrelenting heat, we all need to be ever-vigilant about the state of our residences and surrounding grounds.

Likewise, our village needs to ensure that properties within village boundaries that pose a fire hazard are dealt with in a timely and accountable manner.

Let’s all do our part to keep us as safe as possible.

Andrea Walker

Ashcroft, B.C.

Dear Editor,

An Open Letter to the residents of Ashcroft and area.

I’m writing this letter on behalf of Interior Health to address concern expressed about our recent closure of the Ashcroft Hospital and Health Centre. As community members are aware, the Elephant Hill wildfire spread rapidly on July 7, resulting in the evacuation of the entire Village of Cache Creek. The fire, while burning away from Ashcroft, had significant consequences for our facility. We had lost power, water, and basic communication capabilities (no phone or Internet). While the facility was equipped with back-up power through generators, the supply was limited.

In addition to the loss of basic infrastructure to run the hospital and health centre, we were also losing staff who were either directly impacted by evacuation orders or could not reach Ashcroft due to highway closures resulting from wildfires.

Given the unprecedented situation we found ourselves in, we made the decision to close the facility. Safety was the overriding reason, as keeping the facility open would have put our staff, our patients, and our frail and elderly clients at Jackson House at potential risk. We appreciate this closure left community residents without readily available access to health care services and regret the impact this had on individuals. At the same time, we are glad that the impact to our facility, and our patients and clients, was limited given the enormity of this year’s wildfire season in B.C.

I’d like to extend my thanks to community members for their understanding, as well as to our staff for their support during such a difficult time. Some worked very hard to move clients to other locations and were also redeployed to these locations to provide ongoing care. This involved great personal sacrifice on their part. Others continued to provide service for community clients remaining in Ashcroft. And behind the scenes, our maintenance staff worked diligently to bring our facility back to full operations so that we could resume service to Ashcroft and surrounding communities.

We know there were challenges at times with timely communication, which was exacerbated by the loss of power and normal communication channels. Interior Health is committed to conducting an operational debrief after the wildfire season is over, to review actions and decisions made during the wildfire response.

David Matear

Executive Director,

Community & Acute Services,

IH West (Interior Health)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

The former Ashcroft Elementary School building, which closed as a school in 2015 and is now operated as the Ashcroft HUB, pictured during Skip’s Run, June 2017. The board of education of SD74 voted on March 2 to sell the property to the society for a ‘nominal fee’. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
School district votes to sell Ashcroft HUB for ‘nominal fee’ to HUB Society

Amendment to motion seeks to keep school district’s financial interests in property secure

Cache Creek council say that budget meetings have to take place before a public meeting about the fate of the pool — first promised in May 2019 — can be held. (Photo credit: Journal files)
No date set for public meeting to discuss fate of Cache Creek pool

Council says public meeting cannot take place until budget discussions have been held

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Most Read