Ken Waite examines posters at the BC Flood and Wildfire Review open house Wednesday, March 28 at the Coast Capri Hotel. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna residents provide input on 2017 wildfire and flooding season

An independent review is requesting feedback on how the province handled 2017’s fires and flooding

Kelowna residents had their chance to give input on what they felt worked and didn’t work during last year’s fire and flood season.

A BC Flood and Wildfire Review open house was held Wednesday, March 28 at the Coast Capri Hotel, to allow residents to voice their opinions on how the province handled its worst wildfire season.

After public input, the independent review will be released in late April.

An online survey is also available. In the survey, respondents are asked if they want to comment on the floods and the wildfires or just the fires, and told the review is examining four phases of emergency management including planning and preparedness, prevention and mitigation, response and recovery.

Two Kelowna residents weren’t impressed with the lack of communication they received to prepare for this year’s fire and flood season.

Jutta Peters and Dale Pollard both had Mill Creek waters flooding into their homes last May. Peters is concerned about the creek flooding again this year and that there is no action plan on how to deal with it.

She said water was seeping into her basement last year leaving an inch or two in her home on Spencer Road. Pollard’s car was flooded after water washed into the parkade of her apartment complex on Pacific Court during last year’s floods.

“At that time there was about a foot and a half. The parking lot has a well in it and the cars were sitting in the water,” she said.

Pollard said had they had any warning, as Peters home was flooding the day before, they could’ve prepared.

“We could’ve found out about sandbagging… we just simply didn’t have a clue.”

“I was thinking there would be more information available to what the plan was this year,” said Peters. “We’re into the season already and what’s going to happen?”

At the open house, review co-chair Chief Maureen Chapman said the biggest criticism she’s heard from people has been communication.

“The one that rises to the top consistently are communications, whether it be delayed communications, misinformation because social media is a factor now, or no communication. Some of the cell towers and ways of communications were burnt down,” she said.

Another issue for people is money reimbursement from the province. “People are still waiting on their dollars to be reimbursed for the work that they did themselves,” she said.

Chapman hopes the province will use this review to build a plan for the long term and implement some of the recommendations.

“Some of the recommendations we’ve heard from communities is having an app available,” she said. “We’ve heard people have a box or a tote ready at their front door just in case whether it being flooding or fire, people are thinking about it more.”

Doug MacLeod, with MacLeod Forest Services, attended the open house. He said he was impressed with the government response last season.

“Some things worked, some things didn’t, but way more worked than not,” he said.

He would like to see provincial funding continue each season, rather than die off after a few years of no major fires.

“I’ve been through this at least four times where there’s been a big year, like this last year, and things get rolling and there are money and programs and as the seasons go on the funding dies off. So I’m really hoping, out of all this, that we get some sort of long-term funding commitment that lasts past the four-year political cycle.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Open burning permitted again in Kamloops Fire Centre

Low fire rating prompts decision throughout Kamloops Fire Centre

Incumbent trustee candidate reassesses SOGI 123 impact

Lee-Ann Tiede says mandated student inclusiveness program has some issues

West Kelowna candidates weigh in on how they’d like to see crime dealt with

This week learn about how your candidates feel about crime in West Kelowna

Kelowna mayoral candidates talk about crime

Candidates talk about an issue on many city residents’ minds—how to deal with crime downtown

B.C. Rural Party co-founder rebukes pro-NDP accusation

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen disputes being NDP campaign supporter

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. cannabis producer Tilray hits at $20-billion high as stock price explodes

This is the first export of a cannabis product from a Canadian company to the U.S.

NDP tax increases adding up for B.C. residents: study

Carole James says Fraser Institute analysis ignores tax relief

‘Sesame Street’ wants to clarify: Bert and Ernie aren’t gay

The characters are best friends and have many human traits but “remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation”

Province announces 74 new French teaching spots at SFU, UBC

Needed to fill demand for increasingly popular French immersion programs in B.C.

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Most Read