One week after Parliamentary Secretary Rice came to town to announce the support program for Small Business and Non-Profits the Red Cross held an information session about it. This was late in the afternoon / early in the evening of the same day as city council so my attendance was not possible. But I was able to get someone to take one of my cameras down and record it.
Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness Jennifer Rice came to Grand Forks the morning of Dec 3, 2018. She came bearing bags of cash (figuratively speaking of course) for small businesses in the Boundary that were affected by the spring flood.
How much cash?
How much for you?
If you have a business affected by the flood and have 50 or less employees and “some other factors” (?) then that translates into possibly as much as $18,500. Which sounds close to what businesses in areas affected by Wildfire got last summer. More on all this after the video.
All this money is being funneled through the Red Cross. At 9 minutes into the video they point you to redcross.ca/gethelp which shows you a selection of current projects. Then you have to find the section for Grand Forks and click on it and that takes you to British Columbia Floods 2018 and on that page you’ll find a link to the Support to Small Businesses and Not-for-Profit Organizations.
Watch and listen and learn.
WARNING – RAMPANT EDITORIALIZING AFTER THIS POINT
The Flood that hit us last spring was of historic proportion. And not something the province has experience dealing with . . . which added to our pain and suffering because help was hamstrung by data acquisition, reporting, analyzing and deliberating so that a plan could be implemented.
The disaster that the province has to deal with on a regular, yearly, basis is wildfire. So they have plans for how to deal with people and businesses experiencing wildfire emergencies and their needs both immediate and in the aftermath. You can see that in the Red Cross page “Support to Small Businesses, Not-for-Profit Organizations and First Nations Cultural Livelihoods” created for that purpose. Now the wildfire problems for the year are behind us and the program is not taking any more applications. But to see how much businesses got you can look at the FAQ where it says that they get up to $18,500. Coincidentally the same number announced in the program today.
Before you read on I must say that I do not really intend to bite the hand that helps (you seem like a nice person Secretary Rice and this isn’t personal) . . . but I really feel the need to point out some aspects of reality.
What happens with a Wild Fire?
As far as I know businesses evacuated by wildfire were considered to be off premises for up to two weeks. That’s 2 weeks of lost income at a minimum.
Now if their property was scorched it’s a fire loss / rebuild / restock project. And insurance should help out. Maybe even DFA.
But for businesses not burned the total down time could be as short as the evacuation time. 2 weeks. And then they get to reopen and resume business as best they can.
Let’s look at what happens with a Flood.
Many businesses in Grand Forks evacuated by flooding are still out of their premises 6 months later. Downtown businesses as well. 6 months.
Last month when a couple of them reopened I asked them how much revenue they estimated they had lost being evacuated. One said $100,000. Their neighbour said $500,000.
Until today’s announcement all the businesses have received so far is $1,500. Almost no businesses qualified for DFA. Many got screwed by their insurance providers.
For the past few months one of the messages from the recovery team is that most of the pleas for help to higher levels of government result in requests for ‘more data’. More data so that those trying to analyse the complex problem can come up with a workable plan. So we sent them more data. And then more data.
And now that the temperature is dipping below zero and snow is beginning to fall and people (and businesses) are still out of their premises making do and decisions need to be made the province sends a parliamentary secretary down with a plan that sure looks like a cookie cutter copy of what they were doing months ago for the wildfire affected entities . . . so much for all that data.
This means that the Province has taken 6 months to decide to give us what they were giving to wildfire victims 6 months ago. After they have been told again and again (we hope) what the reality of the situation is out here in flood disaster world and how it differs from Wildfire disaster world (which we are candidates for on any hot, dry, summer)
So really . . . WTF were they doing for the past 6 months?
I really don’t want to be a crass a-hole and I am grateful for whatever help they can give but when I stand back and look at this I’m left wondering what I’m missing here?
IF I’m missing something then I unreservedly apologize to Secretary Rice and the Province.
But . . . if that’s the extent of the provincial support flood victims will be getting in the future I would strongly suggest potential flood target communities start putting their own fund together. It shouldn’t be too hard or take too long to make it larger than what the province is offering if you just keep feeding it. But that’s just my crazy take on things.
On August 22 there was another Boundary Flood Recovery Update meeting at GFSS in Grand Forks.
The audience grew to over 110 people. The number seated on stage had shrunk to 4 (previous meetings had as many as 8).
The organization this time was a timeline review of June and July followed by about 20 submitted questions and then the questioning was opened up to the floor.
You can watch and listen below
Part 1 – Timelines – June and July
Part 2 – Submitted Questions
Part 3 – Questions from the Floor
UPDATE May 14 – You can now donate in more places, see bottom of article.
Over the past few days the news from Alberta has been dire. Fort McMurray, a town many times larger than ours, has suffered one of the worst disasters of modern times in Canada due to Wildfire. While fatalities are very few many thousands of people have been forced to flee for their lives leaving behind everything they couldn’t carry with them. For many of them there will be nothing left to return to . . . but in the meanwhile they need assistance.
If you want to help out you help those who are helping by donating money to the Red Cross. In Grand Forks you have options: You can donate right at the cash register after shopping at Overwaitea, Buy Low Foods or the BC Liquor store. Or you can go to any teller at the local branch of the CIBC. Every Dollar helps! And if you donate more than $20 through the CIBC you can get a charitable donation receipt.
UPDATE: Saturday May 7 11:11 AM
I’m told that you can now donate at Extra Foods and the Gas Bar there.
UPDATE: Saturday May 14
Last week when I made my first set of videos the Grand Forks & District Credit Union wasn’t set up to accept donations. Now they are – but you have to do it through their website at www.gfdscu.com
There’s a large red button on the right edge of the webpage that takes you off to the Red Cross where you can make your donation using a credit card or PayPal. You can also tell them who you are making it on behalf of, yourself or a company / organization, which Credit Union you are affiliated with and your contact information.
If you want to give more tangible help, things – not money, you can do that at Grand Forks Realty on Central in downtown Grand Forks. They’re collecting clothing, baby food, diapers, teddy bears, etc. in a container to send out to Alberta. They’re open Saturday until 4PM and Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM.