Premier Christy Clark tours flood damage in Dawson Creek and talks improvement strategy

Christy Clark visited Dawson Creek on Sunday afternoon to get a first hand look at the flood damage (Photo: Jessica Fedigan)

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Premier Christy Clark toured the flood damage and got a first hand look at the BC flood that devastated Dawson Creek and other parts of Northern BC on Sunday afternoon.

The Premier took the time to talk to residents of the community, and visited homes that were impacted directly by the flood.

Clark also visited the “snake pit” as well as 15th street where the bridge was completely destroyed. Clark then went to Dawson Creek Mall where she talked about the improvements that need to be made.

Clark says the BC government will invest more money this year in hoping these disasters can have less of an impact in the future. She also expressed her concern that these events are becoming more dangerous.

“$65 million this year and we want that to help prevent floods in the future. It is true to say that floods happen, ad maybe every 5 years around the province in some places, every 5 years almost on the clock but not ones like this one. 

When I was up in the Peace 2 months ago, the place was on fire and now it is underwater. We really have to, across Canada, get used to the fact that weather events are getting more extreme.”

The Premier also said there is a need to be more aware what toll climate change is having on the environment, and the province. Clark says the $65 million will be the most the government has ever spent for flood mitigation.

Clark gave high praise to the Ministry of Transportation as well as the city and firefighters who have made sure roads could be re-opened in such a timely fashion.

The federal government was also brought into the conversation, with Clark saying they need to do more. She says she would have liked to see the federal relief program implemented in situations like this.

“Yes, yes absolutely. I think we’ve earmarked more money as a province for disasters and I think the federal government has to do that too. And mitigation is better before the fact, rather then after when a bridge falls down.  The previous government raised the threshold for eligibility, they reduced the amount of money overall. They need to fix both of those things and I would argue what we need is more money before the floods and before the fires happen so that the clean-up and impact is lessened.  From the federal governments perspective, it is a big economic question because when a road goes out, economy stops. When a fire burns down hundreds of thousands of hectares of timber, we lose job opportunity and lots of wealth in the country. This is peoples lives, and these are peoples memories.”

Clark wanted to reiterate the fact that the provinces financial disaster assistance is not a insurance program, but that it is there to protect the essentials of life. She also wants people to be aware that the window is only open for 90 days to apply, saying the government will do the best they can to approve as many applications as possible. The first deductible is $1,000 and goes up to $300,000.

She also took the time to address the LNG project in BC, specifically the Pacific Northwest. She says the federal government is taking too much time to decide if they should go through with the project or not.

“Everyday that it is delayed, is everyday that Canada takes the risk that this project will not happen. That is what the delay is doing. Because the market for natural gas is terrible and in order for these projects to go ahead, the investors need everyday to decide they want to stay in the project. Everyday of delay is a delay of unnecessary risk. This has been 1100 days plus in the environmental approval process from the federal government. It took 180 days for the province to approve this project in and out of the environmental review. There is no reason it should take this long. There are thousands of jobs in these projects, it is our biggest chance to fight climate change around the world. It will be great for Canada’s economy. So for heaven sakes, lets get on with it.”