B.C.’s premier says she’ll do all she can to get the word out that Sicamous is open for business.
During a morning visit to Sicamous Monday, Clark had an opportunity to tour the Two Mile area with Mayor Darrell Trouton and Shuswap MLA George Abbott and witness first-hand the recovery effort going on in the community following the Sicamous Creek debris flow and the flooding from high water.
“Obviously I’ve seen a lot of pictures of it, I’ve been in touch with George about it and of course the mayor as well, but really, until you see it, it’s hard to really grasp what’s happened, “ said Clark. “And people’s homes were devastated and people are still managing the cleanup and I know it’s been really difficult for people.”
With the hardship the community is facing as a result of the recent flooding, Clark said one of the things she can do to help get the community back on its feet is get the word out in the province, and Alberta, that Sicamous is back in full swing for the summer.
“I know the tourism industry here has been really impacted by what happened and people have this perception that the community might not be ready to welcome visitors back,” said Clark. “So I think one of the things I can do to help is help spread that message, that this community took a bit of a knock but you’re not staying down and the community’s back on its feet, at least with respect to welcoming visitors, and we want to welcome more visitors to one of the most beautiful places you’ll find anywhere on the globe.
“So I want to help the mayor and this community send that message all across the province. Come to Sicamous, the people are ready to welcome you with open arms.”
The mayor made sure to take advantage of Clark’s visit to get across all the issues facing Sicamous, from the impact the flooding has had on the community’s water treatment plant, to the direction the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure MOTI is taking with the repair of infrastructure at Sicamous Creek.
Regarding water, Trouton said it was made very clear to the premier that Sicamous’ system is out-of-date and in need of upgrading.
“We talked about… a few different options, but at this point it’s more about the funding and the province coming to the plate… “ said Trouton, adding that grants will be coming forward and the district was encouraged by the premier to have plans ready.
“Engineers are speculating to us right now it could take months, if not years for the turbidity to settle so it’s capable,” said Trouton. “So we have to look at some interim measures, and we have to look at a long-term plan. We have to do our homework as a municipality, get pricing, get a plan ready… and approach the province and ask for solutions to our issues.”
As for Sicamous Creek, Abbott said MOTI is expected to have a plan ready today (July 31, after press time), which will be presented to the district prior to work proceeding.
“They’re hoping to conclude an agreement tomorrow and what’s appropriate, how it will be paid for and how it will be managed in the years ahead,” said Abbott.
As for MOTI works in Swansea Point relating to Hummingbird Creek, Clark said she and Abbott talked abut the history around the referendum and the province’s previous commitment to build infrastructure there.
“I don’t know if that’s something the community might be willing to reconsider at this point,” said Clark.
While there may have been a dearth of promises from the premier, Trouton said the province is working closely with the district, with Abbott acting as the point man for Sicamous.
“If I feel we’re not getting a respectable or a positive response to our necessities, then at least I know they’re a phone call away,” said Trouton.