When mitigating the effects of a natural calamity, mistakes are bound to be made.
On the evening of June 23, when devastating debris flows occurred in Sicamous’ Two Mile subdivision and at Swansea Point, there was an immediate effort – much of it voluntary – to evacuate affected residents to safety.
Among those evacuated were houseboaters from out of province who lost their vehicles and other personal belongings in the torrent. How they were dealt at the evacuation centre has since come into question, following reports from individuals who claim they were treated unfairly, and that no help was made available to them.
Subsequent to such stories hitting the press, comment boards on Alberta media websites have been ablaze with rhetoric, painting the entire province of British Columbia as unfriendly to, and discriminatory against Albertans.
Such generalizations are obviously untrue, particularly when it comes to Sicamous, where Albertans aren’t just visitors, they’re essentially fellow Sicamousians.
Sicamous’ mayor and the B.C. government have acknowledged that mistakes were made regarding out-of-province evacuees, and officials have assured that these errors are being addressed, and those unfairly impacted will be looked after.
Any loss suffered as a result of the incidents in Sicamous and Swansea Point is lamentable, and certainly no one needing help should have been treated differently than anyone else.
It is unfortunate that mistakes were made. Mistakes, by nature, are unintentional and, unfortunately, bound to happen when many people are suddenly pulled together in reaction to a natural disaster.
What matters now is learning from our mistakes and making sure they don’t happen again. And that appears to be what is happening.