Residents of flooded Cache Creek eligible for B.C. disaster relief
Published Monday, May 25, 2015 8:44AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 25, 2015 9:54PM EDT
Residents of Cache Creek, B.C., got some good news Monday as they continued to clean up after a devastating flood.
B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton announced that the community is eligible for funding from the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance program.
That means the government will pay up to 80 per cent of the cost of repairs for homes that have more than $1,000 damage, up to $300,000.
Premier Christy Clark will visit the community of approximately 1,000 people on Tuesday, Anton said.
Cache Creek is located in a semi-arid region of the B.C. interior, about 80 kilometres northwest of Kamloops. The soil there is dry and poorly drained, meaning it's not prepared to quickly absorb large amounts of rainfall.
About 60 homes suffered damage in the disaster and some were rendered completely uninhabitable.
A gas station was severely damaged, a couple of homes came right off their foundations and the storm broke through the front doors of the fire hall.
Mayor John Ranta told CTV News Channel that he had signed an evacuation order applying to 23 homes, and that about 40 more are subject to an “evacuation alert” that requires occupants be ready to leave on short notice.
Ranta said later in the day that he had signed an evacuation order applying to 23 homes, and that about 40 more are subject to an “evacuation alert” that requires occupants be ready to leave on short notice.
“We’ve hired a geotechnical engineer to come and assess the stabilities of the slopes above one of the trailer parks,” Ranta said. “If the slope is deemed stable, we’ll be able to lift the evacuation orders.”
Ranta described the flood as an “extraordinary event” unlike any he has seen in the 45 years he has lived in Cache Creek.
“Old timers have never seen anything like it,” he said of the rain and hail storm that caused the flooding on Saturday. “It came down on us like a tonne of bricks.”
Cache Creek resident Marcie Down said the main street turned into a river during the flood.
"It went from just being light, to coming down heavy, to coming down so hard and fast you couldn't even see across the street,” she told CTV's Canada AM on Monday. “It was just a complete whiteout.”
Down said Cache Creek residents are used to the nearby Bonaparte River flooding on occasion, but they've never witnessed flooding this bad. She said a tiny upland creek overflowed with the rain, and the torrent of water from the creek carried logs, trees, silt and all manner of debris sweeping down from the hills.
"The devastation is unbelievable," she said.
Cache Creek resident Kim Van Tine says he was preparing to move into a newly renovated home he'd just purchased when the flood hit, destroying his new house and leaving him unable to claim an insurance payout.
"Traditional insurance just isn't covering that," he told CTV News Channel.
Van Tine says he and his family will be forced to live in a trailer home for the time being, as he's slated to turn over possession of his old house on Tuesday.
Cache Creek resident Christina Borg said she was trapped inside her home with her father and daughter when the floodwaters engulfed the house.
"First you see the water coming at you, then it keeps rising and rising," she told CTV Vancouver on Sunday. "Then you hear the rumbling of all the cars hitting the house and stuff, and then you see the water rising past the windows."
Charlene Milward's house was lifted off its foundation and her basement flooded with mud in the storm. She says the house is a total write-off, and neighbours are now helping her collect her personal belongings before she leaves it behind for good. "I'm in shock. I don't know what to say," she said. "I'm in a small town so everybody's very supportive."
Van Tine also praised the community for their support after the loss of his new home. He says he's looking on the bright side, despite the loss of his home. "Fortunately there was no loss of life or serious injury," he said. "Houses can be rebuilt."
Nearly 100 residents had registered at a temporary emergency relief headquarters as of Monday morning.