Concerns raised at flood open house
Black Diamond: Some residents say questions not answered at meeting
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 08:53 am
Some Black Diamond residents feel their questions still aren’t being answered almost four months after floodwaters filled their homes.
The Town of Black Diamond attempted to answer questions posed by residents affected by the June 20 flooding of the Sheep River with an open house last week.
The event offered information on business lending options, water, emotional and family support, cleaning up after the flood, flood mapping and disaster recovery.
When homeowner Lisa Dreher returned home from the open house she felt more confused than when she went.
“No one could really seem to answer a question,” she said. “Some of the people almost seemed standoffish when you asked your questions.”
For instance, a map at one information booth showed floodway and flood fringe areas highlighted in a variety of colours.
When Dreher asked the difference between two coloured areas she said she was told they both represented flood fringe.
Dreher said some of her neighbours also left the open house feeling just as frustrated.
“One lady was still a little confused,” she said. “She had more unanswered questions.”
The booth Dreher found most useful offered tips on how to get through the situation emotionally.
Since the flood occurred Dreher hasn’t had a chance to really relax.
“Our insurance company is fantastic but we have to prove everything,” she said. “It’s phone calls constantly. Everything is very time consuming.”
Robin Tudor, whose sewer backed up in her Centre Avenue home during the flood, attended the open house to keep up to date with what’s going on.
She said lack of communication was a big issue and thinks the open house was a good idea to get people informed.
Lyle Wunderlich, who lives west of Black Diamond, said his home wasn’t affected but he wanted to ask about the Province’s future plans for the Sheep River on behalf of himself and three neighbours who live alongside the river.
“I’m interested in the Province’s plan to protect the lands from further erosion,” he said. “I just thought I’d pop by and see what else is happening.”
Flood recovery coordinator Andy Lamb said he had several questions from residents about the Province’s flood zones.
Many asked if the government was planning to change the 15-year-old maps to accommodate changes in the rivers but the answer Lamb gave them was no.
“Once the maps are updated it’s not going to affect the event in 2013,” he said.
Lamb displayed flood zones and fringes on a computer, showing people where their homes lie, as well as several fact sheets for people to take home.
He said the Province is in the process of updating its mapping.
“In terms of updating I don’t have a specific date,” he said. “After an event like this we will get data to update and refresh the maps. It’s a big job.”
Black Diamond Mayor Sharlene Brown said she received questions about water restrictions and when they will be lifted.
“That’s what’s on the mind in the community at this point,” she said. “Of course, we don’t have an answer for that until we figure out the source issues, whether there is enough water to sustain both communities.”
Brown said there were also questions regarding disaster recovery dollars promised to homeowners affected by the flood and what the plans are to mitigate the river to prevent flooding in the future.
For the most part, Brown said people are getting settled back into their homes.
“People that were affected are moving along,” she said. “They’re making decisions on whether they should mitigate the basement or keep things in their basement.”
Brown said the Town will continue informing the public in this type of format, although the partners won’t always be the same at each event.
“To keep the community informed is important especially as we are going through things,” she said. “Any time we have a chance to do things like that and be out there explaining what’s going on is really important.”