The Rayners are happy to have their health and the help of their community this week as they continue clean up at their home on Ocean Beach Esplanade, which was hit by a mudslide during the recent heavy rains.
"We're doing pretty good for old folks," said a happy and optimistic Laura Rayner.
She and her 86-year-old husband Harold are currently living in a friend's cabin down the road from their home in Elphinstone.
"We feel so fortunate to be able to stay in the cabin. It's our friend's who is 97 years young, and she's not using the cabin right now, so she offered it to us," said Laura.
When the mudslide hit the Rayners' home at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, Laura and Harold decided to wait until morning to survey the damage.
By Sunday morning, the water and sand that had washed down from the hill behind their home had caused a river to form in their breezeway, their septic tank to overflow in the guest cabin and silt and water to pool in living areas of the home.
Once emergency crews were called, the Rayners were told it would be best if they left their home because the hill seemed unstable and more slides were possible.
On Sunday, Jan. 30, the Rayners had a geotechnical engineer come to inspect the slide. He determined the cause was probably from an improperly installed drainage ditch at the top of the hill.
The Rayners are continuing to investigate possible causes while looking at costs to clean up and repair their home and applying for Provincial Emergency Plan (PEP) dollars to help ease some of the financial implications.
"Our daughters have been great. They took the week off to help us fill out forms and send them in to Victoria. They are really taking care of a lot of things for us. Someone said we should save all our receipts, so we're doing that. We have some savings, but this will cost thousands, I'm sure," said Laura.
Reports on local newscasts saying the Rayners will have to purchase a $400 development permit before clean up can begin is being reviewed by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).
"There is a fee under the regional district bylaw, but I've asked planning if they can waive that fee or pay it out of another account, which was not authorized," said Paul Fenwick, general manager of community services at the SCRD. "I believe the issue of the $400 fee is going to be talked about at the board level this Thursday, and they will review what options the district has." But Laura said she is happy with the help the SCRD has offered so far, going to the home to survey the damage and helping to speed up the process of applying for PEP funding, which will cover 80 per cent of clean up costs up to a maximum of $100,000.
"Everyone has been so supportive and helpful. Someone lent us a microwave and our director Celia Fisher called us last night to see how we were doing. That was nice. People are stopping by to bring us pies and soup and muffins. We've had wonderful support from this community," said Laura.
She admits that the slide has caused her and her husband some hardship but added, "We're alive. It could have been so much worse."
Currently it looks like it will be a couple of months until the Rayners can return to their home safely.