Thank you to the Reporter for opening up the question of emergency planning in the Aug. 25 issue. I looked eagerly for information on evacuation planning, since that was acknowledged to be the primary question asked of the SCRD Emergency Planning Coordinator, and is certainly a major topic of worried conversation amongst friends and colleagues.
Imagine my disappointment when I learned that there is a draft plan that won’t be available to the public until….later. It seems the fires raging all around us in this province might give a little incentive to the authors of that “draft” plan, so that the rest of us are informed!
But my concerns didn’t stop there – the coordinator assured us, that even though we have only one highway, there are ferries at either end! The implication that more than 30,0000 people can line up along the highway to escape, say, a major fire, is almost laughable, if it wasn’t so scary. We’ve just endured a summer of totally booked ferries on most sailings, creating a nasty situation for those of us living here – can we even imagine the “orderly evacuation” that the coordinator assures us would be the case?
She also offers up the possibility of “barge landings” and I was immediately assailed with a picture of 300 people clinging to each other on a barge to escape – a little like the oft-sinking refugee boats in other countries.
The bottom line is that none of us can feel reassured about this so-called “orderly evacuation” until we know what the SCRD has in mind, and even then, we may still have cause to worry.
Gail Riddell, Sechelt