Cache Creek flood victims slowly getting lives back

By Chad Klassen
November 6, 2015 - 11:10am

Cache Creek resident Charlene Milward is seeing her now former home for the first time in months. She still can't believe the destruction, six months after it was gutted on the evening of May 23, 2015. 

The house was the hardest hit on Stage Road when a rush of water brought 20 feet of debris onto the property, completely filling her basement with mud.

But today, nothing has changed. The house looks like it did the days following the flood. 

"It's terrible, but I can't really do anything with it while the culvert's still plugged, so just waiting to hear back from the Village," says Milward, who's been living in a rental suite since the flood.

It's been a frustrating six months for Milward, who says she hasn't received much help from the Village of Cache Creek. 

"With the village, I've known those people my whole life, so that's disappointing they haven't helped out or said anything about the property or made a move on it," says Milward.

Mayor of Cache Creek John Ranta says the village is working on the issue. 

"I haven't quite figured out yet how to address that issue, and our administrator is suggesting things like maybe we can convince the province to provide each property owner with some funding towards reconstruction of the water diversion ditch or some other mechanism," says Ranta. 

Milward has received of donations from community fundraising efforts in the summer. In all, there was $260,000 raised for flood victims. 

She also received Disaster Financial Assistance from the B.C. government, 80% of the estimated damage cost.

"I bought some new couches, because my other couches had three or four inches of mud on the bottom of them. A new bed as well."

Milward also used some of the funding to purchase a new house, taking possession just last week, a couple doors up the street on Stage Road. 

"It's definitely a big relief," she says. "At least now you have a place to live and move all your stuff and get it cleaned up. Lots of my stuff is still in storage and dirty, so we're working on that. We still have a little bit more to do. Slowly it's coming together."

Six months later, much of the Village, though, is back to normal. Streets and sidewalks have been cleared and repaved. The curbs, which were destroyed by the sheer force of the water, have also been fully repaired on Stage Road.

Twenty-seven projects have been completed so far, with the total damage costing the Village close to $2 million. 

"The cost of our share of recovery is more than we collect in taxes from all classes of taxation in an entire year," says Ranta. "The flood disaster has had a significant impact on the municipality and our ability to provide the same services we have over the past number of years."

There are still five projects remaining, and Ranta says they will come with little or no help from the province. 

As for Milward, while she now has two mortgages to worry about, she's happy to be somewhat settled again.

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