City Manager warns of flood risk in Merritt, likening it to living on an active volcano

Living in Merritt is like living on an active volcano, says city manager, as concerns loom over flood risk


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“Frustrations and Fear in Merritt Two Years After Devastating Flood

In the aftermath of the catastrophic flooding in Merritt, B.C., Cherylle Douglas reveals that she is still haunted by the harrowing experience. She wakes up multiple times a night to check on the Coldwater River next to what once was her family’s home. The devastating flood, which occurred in November 2021, forced all 7,000 residents of Merritt to evacuate their houses. Despite the passing of two years, Douglas and many others fear the possibility of a future disaster and are questioning whether enough has been done to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.

Living in Fear and Uncertainty
Cherylle Douglas shares her ongoing fears, stating that the trauma of the flood continues to affect her daily life. Her property remains unsafe, and she worries that she may never be able to return to a permanent home. The damage from the flood has left her living in an RV, as her daughter’s trailer is deemed unsafe for habitation. With over 300 homes requiring extensive repairs or even demolition, many residents can relate to Douglas’ fears and uncertainty about the future.

Municipal Concerns for Flood Prevention
Municipal officials echo the concerns about future disasters and emphasize the importance of funding sources for flood prevention efforts. The City of Merritt is in a precarious situation, similar to sitting on top of a volcano, with the risk of flooding being likened to that of an active volcano. The slow progress around the rebuilding and the potential risk of future flooding has left many residents and city leaders feeling frustrated.

Blame Game for Lack of Mitigation
The city has been grappling with the lack of funding needed to address future flooding risks. Despite federal and provincial governments’ commitments, there are limitations to how the funding can be allocated. Reports of the province failing to address acknowledged risks and a frustrated plea for policies and plans for implementation further add to the worries and frustrations of the city officials.

A Call for Action
The recent announcement of $2 million in funding for a small portion of dyking along the Coldwater River is not enough to alleviate the city’s concerns. Sean Strang, Director of Recovery and Mitigation, emphasizes the need for comprehensive flood prevention strategies. Without proper policies and plans, the city is unable to implement necessary measures, leaving residents wondering when steps will be taken to ensure their safety.

In conclusion, the residents of Merritt continue to grapple with fears and uncertainties, two years after the catastrophic flooding. Although efforts are in place, questions remain about whether adequate measures are being taken to prevent future disasters. As the community awaits a clear path forward, the call for action on flood prevention has never been more urgent.”


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