Poperty owners await compensation

One of three homes bulldozed by the Ministry of Environment along the Cottonwood River.

One of three homes bulldozed by the Ministry of Environment along the Cottonwood River.

He says dismantled means “you can put it back together.

“And what they did was demolish my house to bits,” Tim Lynes said.

Lynes is the third resident along the Cottonwood River to have his home destroyed and carted away due to flooding.

The Cariboo Regional District issued evacuation orders to three properties in early May along with evacuation alerts to 14 homes in the area.

Late last week provincial specialists from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Ministry of Environment, as well as Emergency Management BC decided to dismantle and remove two more homes on the shoreline of the Cottonwood River.

The ministries cite the avoidance of “environmental damage due to continued erosion placing the residences at risk” as their reasoning for dismantling the homes.

But Lynes questions why the play on words when his home was “bulldozed.”

“They could have dismantled it and saved the appliances, my furnace…” he said.

Since the destruction of his home, Lynes is staying in a camper in a gravel pit. He says he has not yet received confirmation regarding compensation.

“We’re trying to get a meeting together,” he said.

Cariboo regional District chair Al Richmond said the province has committed to covering rentals for those affected by the flood until compensation packages are established.

“We have staff looking into suitable accommodations,” he added.

For years residents along the Cottonwood have attempted to secure provincial and federal approval to protect their homes from flood damage.

“We were trying to save our homes,” Lynes said.

“And at our own expense, but government tied our hands.”

Richmond acknowledged both the residents’ and government’s frustration.

“It’s incredibly frustrating we couldn’t get something done,” he said.

The evacuation alerts were removed Wednesday, with the exception of two properties on Quesnel-Hixon Road which remains.

The evacuation order issued to three properties on the Cottonwood River remains in effect.

Residents are reminded to use extreme caution at this time of year near, on or around waterways as a result of elevated water levels and rapid currents.

Rivers, streams and creeks throughout the Region are swollen and should be considered hazardous as warm temperatures this weekend could see increased flows.

Further information will be available as the situation develops. For all inquiries, visit the CRD online at www.cariboord.bc.ca  or call the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-398-5117. Current information is also available from the online at  www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/emergencyinfobc/.


Quesnel Cariboo Observer