The events of the past week have been overwhelming. It is hard to even find words to convey our collective grief and loss as we see, directly and through the news, the destruction resulting from the atmospheric river event.
While the images and stories of the flooding were incredible, it was when the waters receded that the significance really came to light – enormous losses that will have implications for some time. For some SLRD residents, the images were not on the news, but right in their community and sometimes, right at their home.
Tragically, this event has also cost lives. We grieve for those who died in the mudslide on the Duffey Lake Road, the same road that so many of us travel regularly. Although we may not know those who lost their lives, the loss feels close to home.
This event comes as we still live with a pandemic, and in a year where people have already endured record heat and wildfires. Many are sad and tired, and yet we continue to lift each other up. As neighbours, friends and simply as fellow human beings, people are connecting with one another and helping where they can
We saw this in the heroic efforts of emergency responders and all those working to restore power or road access in the affected areas. We also hear of the lesser-known heroes, getting groceries in to those who were isolated at home, calling to make sure their neighbour was okay, helping to sandbag or clean up the mess left behind when the water receded, volunteering their time, skills and most importantly, their care, for friends, neighbours and strangers. That caring is the fabric of community recovery and resilience.
The people in the SLRD have lived through many major emergencies and disasters and we consistently see, through small and large pragmatic acts of caring, that the fabric of resilience is being tested but also that new threads are being woven every day.
Chair, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District