Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr has not been in his riding since the flooding that hit the Central Okanagan started last weekend. But that doesn’t mean he has not been monitoring the situation from Ottawa and briefing federal officials.
Fuhr told the Capital News Wednesday, while duties with the defence committee, which he chairs, have kept him away, he has been staying abreast of what is happening here. He has spoken to locals by phone including the mayors of both Kelowna and Lake Country, and has relayed the situation to federal officials including pubic safety minister Ralph Goodale, who is in charge of emergency preparedness.
“I was happy to learn that what I told him, he already knew. He was already all over it,” said Fuhr.
But the local MP said he wanted to make sure Goodale got a clear and accurate picture of exactly what was happening here, and that was why he spoke directly with Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Lake Country Mayor James Baker first.
He said Goodale told him he is ready to respond to a requst fromthe B.C. government.
Fuhr said in terms of federal assistance to deal with the flooding here, the province has to make a request first and, so far, no such request has been made by Victoria to Ottawa. In the case of flooding affecting parts of Quebec, assistance was asked for there and, as a result, members of the Canadian military were dispatched to that province to help with rising water levels.
He said different provinces are resourced differently when it comes to natural disasters and a lot depends of what the province in question asks for.
Fuhr said he is concerned about what the Central Okanagan may be facing this weekend with Environment Canada forecasting more rain soaking the already saturated ground and warm weather that will melt snow at higher elevations quicker than would normally be the case.
“The worst may be ahead of us,” said. Fuhr. “It looks like a perfect storm (for more flooding).”
With that possibility looming, Fuhr said he will head back to the riding Friday and be here over the weekend.