The 6:30 RDOS information meeting this evening was an emotional event as some of the Area C residents affected by recent flooding shared their frustration with the audience in the Community Center.
270 plus residents attended the meeting and before the spokespeople for Provincial Ministries, Area ‘C’ Director Terry Schafer and Bill Newell CAO of RDOS could finish their overview of the situation, members of the audience were interrupting and demanding explanations of why the water flows had not been anticipated based on past local history.
The Province attempted to explain how the flooding was being dealt with, but the focus quickly changed to “why was this allowed to happen in the first place?”
Above average snow packs and rain have certainly played a significant role in the disasters but, Beavers are also a real problem with their dam building activities. One resident stated that there are 22 Beaver dams in the flood areas which have caused significant back up of water.
Another angry resident stated that he had destroyed Beaver dams on his property only to be confronted by law enforcement officials who told him he was violating Provincial laws. However it appears residents can legally shoot Beavers on their property provided they do it in a humane manner and do not leave the animal suffering. (This could lead to a Charge of ‘Illegal discharge of a firearm’ so residents need to be sure of their rights in this regard).
The most consistent complaint was lack of foresight, lack of communication and a somewhat flippant attitude on the part of a couple of Ministry employees.
It is difficult to report all the comments made and to be fair there were some residents who defended efforts being made and suggested their neighbors should trust the Ministries to do their job. This support drew rounds of applause, but the prevailing theme was too-little-to-late as was evidenced by one resident who broke into tears and could not speak.
CAO Bill Newell explained that the RDOS did declare a Local State of Emergency but the RDOS has very little financial leeway under Provincial Statute therefore the RDOS cannot arbitrarily move money from one account to another.
After listening to one very angry resident state he is “disgusted with the way this flooding is being handled”; he stated his children were suffering extreme anxiety due to water flood in their house. He further stated that “he wanted answers to his questions and challenged the Ministries and the RDOS to do a much better job of communicating actions and progress
by Pat Hampson