Flood waters are receding in the Interior after soaking much of British Columbia, but operators and advocates say it’s going to be hard for affected businesses to get back on their feet.
The flooding caused millions of dollars in damages across the province. Fire services were dealing with a wave of claims from restaurants, repair shops and gas stations. The Lower Mainland also got some serious flooding when neighbourhoods were evacuated from Mill Plain Road north of Vancouver.
Amanda Schwab co-owner of Three-sixty, a seafood restaurant in West Kelowna, said she lost about $60,000 in bookings and shows due to the flood. She said she had already lost a flood during the fall season and this was much worse.
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“We had guests come in, not wanting to wait in line, and paying for those reservations but being told it was unsafe,” she said. “We had nobody come in.”
How different is this one from 2013?
About 4,000 homes were affected in 2013, the last flood of record. Leitch points out three key differences.
“Those earlier floods happened on a dry, sunny day, and you kind of catch up when you come back,” he said. “But there was no wind this time, so rain was very sporadic, and we didn’t have any of the high winds, unfortunately.”
READ MORE: It’s a wet garden, a wet summer, and an orange flower garden near Prince George
Restaurants, markets and home-to-home businesses are not the only business to be impacted by the flooding. School bus transportation company Mabita Bus, whose parent company operated 70 buses out of Vernon, said they lost over $200,000.
“All across the province there are thousands of businesses that are impacted in different ways and the main thing is just trying to recover as soon as possible and make sure we’re supporting communities and businesses along the way,” said Scott Blyth, vice-president of operations.
When we get flooded, our buses don’t go very far away from their home and they’re going to miss a day or two of service and that’s going to be trouble.”
Evacuation orders are lifted but evacuation alerts remain in place. Click here for a more detailed list of evacuation alerts and orders from the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen. The BC Search and Rescue team is going door-to-door to let people know about the alerts. For more information, click here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Call the Natural Resources Ministry for information on how to apply for provincial disaster assistance. More information can be found here.
EMAECODE PICTURE: http://home.albertaculture.bc.ca/eforhyd
(Update: Kinder Morgan facilities in the Peace River region weren’t affected by the flooding. Once they were able to return to their normal operation levels, people began returning to their jobs.)