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Letter: Count down to Joe Rich Mission Creek disaster
To the editor:
My wife and I were at the Joe Rich Community Hall on Saturday, May 4), participating in the Community Clean-up, and Mission Creek was still in its channel.
We were back at the hall Monday morning, May 6 after the first full day of hot weather (30+ C) and Mission Creek is now running fully over all of the Muddit property at the northeast corner of Mission Creek Bridge on Hwy33; still not high enough to be causing any significant damage but it will be interesting to see what it looks like after another full day of sun. The weather is suppose to continue in the 30+ C range for the next few days.
The question is, will all the downed trees, the storage trailer, the car, the fuel oil tank, the demolition pile (from the damage during the last flood) and the house—let alone the septic field—be up against the bridge on Hwy 33 in the next day or two? If that happens, what happens to the bridge, the highway, private homes just across the road?
I personally met with Norm Letnick over six months ago to discuss the specific issue and was advised at that time that provincial emergency funding is only available when there is an active, immediate threat. Trouble is, when the emergency it active and immediate it is too dangerous for any work to be done and when it is not active and immediate there is no funding available. A Catch 22 situation—nothing can be done unless there is an emergency but nothing will be done when the emergency is on-going (too dangerous).
I suspect this situation was devised by our elected representatives so they would never have to take actual responsibility—for anything.
Numerous other residents have pleaded for help over the past four or five or more years, to the various agencies—Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the province, the feds, even Black Mountain Irrigation District, but nobody wants to do anything because, if they do, they fear they will become responsible.
In the mean time Frank and Pat Russell, an elderly couple who have lived across the road from this site for more than 45 years, are now (for the past two years) forced to run sump-pumps (at least two) in their basement 24/7, 365 days a year.
Because of the way the creek water has been diverted by the Muddit property fiasco, these people in their late 70s, are being forced to continuously pump out and mop up their basement.
Is anybody ever going to do anything or are we just going to wait until the highway is severely damaged and the bridge has to be replaced because it has been washed out?
John B. Collinson,
Kelowna (Joe Rich)