And now we have the heat. Last year’s cycle seems to be repeating itself – first with flood levels far above the old “normal” followed by a heat wave.
We were very fortunate last year not to have the massive fires in this region that the Cariboo experienced but the danger is very real. Despite all the water, the surface of the ground is very dry with a lot of fuel on our hills. Fire season is ‘now’ so please be extremely careful.
As many of you are aware a referendum ballot on proportional representation and other types of voting systems will be presented to you in the fall. While very specific information is not forthcoming from government we are working hard at getting information to you about the variety of options and the impact of those on an efficiently functioning democratic legislative system. My office will not be campaigning for or against changing the system but we do have volunteers who can go over what the ballot looks like with you or a group of your neighbours so you have the opportunity to see how each system would function in our current Legislature.
Please take advantage of educating yourself on this important issue so that you can make an informed decision. Change for the sake of change is not always the best option in any legislative system.
Most of you in the South Okanagan and Similkameen who were impacted by floods this spring will hopefully be moving forward with clean-up and recovery. You are the lucky ones, though I’m sure you don’t feel that way.
The community of Grand Forks has a much longer process ahead of them. It will take up to two years for any kind of “normal” existence to be re-established. Many have no homes to go back to and those that are repairable will take months to clear the contamination of soil and drinking water that has occurred. Disaster financial assistance is a slow process and unfortunately does not support businesses in the same way it does residential. Many businesses in Grand Forks may not get their doors open again; some buildings have been condemned and will have to be torn down.
We are often quick to complain when our lives have been disrupted by Mother Nature, but have a thought for the people of Grand Forks whose circumstances are by far worse than anything we have seen locally during 2018 spring flooding.
A huge thank you to Grieg Seafood who supplied fresh salmon to the Legion in Grand Forks to put on a free community dinner on Father’s Day. Just under 500 people enjoyed dinner and another opportunity to talk about the flood and move forward.
The communities of Willowbrook and Twin Lakes will need a concentrated effort by several provincial ministries to do flood mitigation work – some of which should have been done last year and in the case of Twin Lakes it should have been done many years ago.
Thanks to people like Coral Brown and the Twin Lakes Stewardship committee, the issues are finally top of mind with government and I am hopeful work will begin after we are through this flood season.
Tourism season is upon us once again and traffic is decidedly slower than we locals would like. Please be patient, many of our friends and neighbours rely on that tourism business for their livelihood from literally millions of dollars of economic activity that is generated by these visitors to our beautiful communities.
Be safe, and remember the kids are out of school and everywhere.
MLA Linda Larson, Boundary/Similkameen