From: Lukas Toth
I am proudly a resident of the community of Willowbrook, and before this was raised in Oliver in Sportsman Bowl as a child. Being born and raised in this community I have chosen to start my own family here based on the values and community connectedness of the area. Not only because the recent headlines have been in my home community, but I am shocked over the current news about this area as a whole. The flooding and potential for damage in my area as well as now in Sportsman`s Bowl is extensive and the idea for the government to order pumping of St. Andrews golf course leaves me shocked beyond belief. This shows the extreme disconnect between provincial agencies and the communities they are supposed to be serving.
Willowbrook has fought unbelievably hard to get it`s culverts assessed, cleaned or replaced, and for adequate infrastructure to be implemented. We all saw this being a problem long before it was one and have lobbied endlessly to prevent this devastation now upon us. As it`s been said many times, we are now reacting to something we all tried to be proactive about. We argued that work must be done when the ground is solid so machines can move swiftly and effortlessly. But now, here we are panicking and playing catch-up. I hate to say it, but we told you so. But who does it negatively effect, us – the helpless community members. The very community I chose to raise my daughter in now looks like a war zone with torn up roads, sandbags, and poorly managed water. Not to mention the boil water notice for longer than a year and the threat of broken septic fields (for the second time) in the community I want to play and explore with my baby.
When Fairview Golf Course had its recent disaster, many golf members and volunteers came out to support the course with clean up and sand bagging. When Willowbrook had its state of emergency declared, residents and neighboring communities came together to sand bag and help one another. St. Andrews has higher than normal water levels and a submerged green with no emergent state declared, no homes or livelihoods in danger, and the awareness that their water enters Willowbrook and Sportsman Bowl down stream of them yet still is willing to pump out their water. From what I understand, much like us, the dam above their region is on the brink of bursting but what harm would it be for Prather Lake to serve as a reservoir for the time being while we continue to evacuate water from our region? It is within the diversion license of St. Andrews Golf Course to pump water out of Prather lake and use it to irrigate their property. Both last year and earlier this year St. Andrews pumped out water from Prather Lake but did not use it to irrigate and this has directly influenced the water levels in our region and thus the flooding and potential for flooding of our homes. Only now does St. Andrews have the government authority to pump water out of their lake and off their property to relieve stress on the Kitley Lake system. The quote from Everett Nabe on Global News said “It’s a tough time for us. We’ve lost quite a bit of our golf course here.” I am speechless at this. Replace the words “golf course” with homes, properties, investments, retirements, or financial security and you’ll get an idea of what it is like to be living in Willowbrook at the moment. It is a tough time for us too.