Cache Creek rebuilt a year after 'unbelievable' flooding

By Chad Klassen
May 24, 2016 - 5:13pm Updated: May 25, 2016 - 11:59am

CACHE CREEK, B.C. — A relatively quiet Saturday afternoon last May 23 quickly turned into the worst natural disaster to hit the Village of Cache Creek in more than 30 years.

In less than an hour, torrential rains destroyed culverts, infrastructure, and people's homes. 

It's now been one year since a devastating flash flood ravaged the village, but most of the community is pretty well back to normal, an exercise in true community spirit in the wake of such a disaster 12 months ago. 

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"The community was resilient. We just didn't know how resilient until after the disaster," says Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta. "Everybody in the community pulled together to their credit to help their neighbours, to help those in need."

It's what needed to happen in the evening of May 23, 2015 when 26 millimeters of rain poured down within an hour, causing mud and debris to pile up on streets and people's properties.

It caused upwards of $5 million in damages to the village. 

"The water's running down the street in front of my house, it was unbelievable, the amount in such a short period of time," says Ranta. "It resulted in the plugging of at least three culverts in the community. Two on Old Cariboo Road and the one on Lopez Creek."

A year later, residents like Paul and Donna Tetrault are enjoying life again. Their backyard was washed out, including a retaining wall, and their entire basement flooded. 

It was a muddy mess for months after, but has since been refinished thanks to $21,000 from community donations and some disaster financial assistance from the B.C. government. 

"All I can say is thank you very much," says Paul Tetrault. "The community really helped to get rid of the mud and clean up."

The only thing they're waiting for is their neighbour, who's responsible for rebuilding the retaining wall 

The most damaged piece of property at the top of Stage Road, belonging to Charlene Milward, remains unlivable. Last fall, she purchased a home just up the street.

As for the village, there are still two projects needing completion. One is repairs to the Valleyview Drive water diversion ditch, which was destroyed during the flood. The other is slope stabilization down Lopez Creek, next to Stage Road. 

"It is sluffing away. We've got a fence along there, but the slope is sluffing away beneath the fence, and so that bank needs to be stabilized, otherwise the shoulder will disappear, which will compromise the road," notes Ranta. 

But according to Mayor Ranta, the project doesn't qualify for diaster financial assistance and will have to be paid in full, which will cost the village another few thousand dollars. 

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