Rites of Spring #36 – B.C. Mudslide – so what the heck went wrong

Oliver Slide 2010 - How will your government respond - next time?A week ago today (Last Friday) an Osoyoos hiker near the Testalinden Lake, Oliver B.C. noticed the water was over spilling the earthen dam and contacted a local B.C. tourism office…

which in turn alerted the RCMP

and then the RCMP notified the provincial government…

…two days before Sunday’s catastrophic mudslide…

And then. Nothing.
Until Sunday… then… Whoosh!

The RCMP informed the forests ministry because the hiker said the overflowing water was muddying a road beside the lake…
…which the RCMP thought would be a forestry road. And they were right.

Our honorable Minister of Public Safety, Mike de Jong, was not available for comment.

A dam gives way, wiping out five homes near Oliver causing millions of dollars of damage to homes, farms and infrastructure – and nothing from our leaders.

Grower Kathy Mercier, who raised grapes for Toronto-based wine giant Andrew Peller Limited, experienced a near total loss on her seven-acre property.
“Think of a giant lava flow, that’s exactly what it looks like. And it stops right on top of my Merlot,” said Mercier.

She also ran a popular B&B in the area – and it was crushed by a combination of mud, tree trunks, refrigerator sized boulders and random automobiles.

Mercier, whose insurance will not cover the devastation, said her neighbors recall regular inspections of the lake decades ago, but in recent times those checks dwindled and then all but stopped.

Affected residents in Oliver may be eligible for disaster assistance compensation of 80 per cent of their losses above $1,000 to a maximum of $300,000.

Good thing this didn’t happen here in Victoria – 300G would cover the loss of the garage… hardly a home or property.

Humor aside, this incident illustrates vividly the Provinces general disinterest in British Columbia residents, small business and so on. Gordon Campbell and his ilk are only concerned about making deals with huge corporations and bankrupting us all in the most creative fashion possible.
Currently Gordon and his boys are wrapped up in the B.C. Rail scandal (taking his eye off of what is obviously more important.)

Til that scandal and who-knows-how many other scandals wrap up (in the courts and beyond) – this is the kind of emergency response I guess we can expect.

This all makes living right here on the West Coast dead center in a subduction zone… kind of scary.

Good luck everyone.