Posted on: August 8, 2016 | General News
WCA President Ronald Smith,
I read your report in the Whiteshell Echo and want to emphasize that the parks staff most certainly did not check the status of every cottage on Falcon Lake south shore and were not informative at all. They may have gone around as confirmed by a neighbor however that was only after the road was reopened.
On the Saturday following the rain my cousin and I both cottage owners of separate cottages on the south shore and would not have known that we were under flood conditions and potentially not going to be allowed to evacuate if not for one neighbor stopping me on the road asking if I knew anything.
We drove towards town to find out what was happening and only after driving through the flooded road was I able to stop and ask what the situation was. I was abruptly told by the parks staff to not get out of my vehicle and to keep on moving. I declined and informed the officer that I wanted information and he needed to provide it. I was told no and to get back into my vehicle and keep going and threatened with arrest. I was insistent and held my ground to only find out that they were afraid that the culvert was going to blow only after the rcmp officer backed me up.
Against their orders I turned around and returned to get my cousin, our pets and my neighbors 92 year old mother. Only to find out that the road was officially closed and cottagers were not being allowed to exit. Hey that was my choice, my responsibility.
Hydro was out for 14 hours, cell phones not charged due hydro outage. Parks staff did not need to walk they should have taken a truck to the other side early enough and could have driven around using PA system and announced get out now
I called the parks office and was told it would be days before the road could be opened which was reasonable. So I made arrangements for another relative to come get us with his boat on the Sunday. We stopped at the road block after evacuation and no new information was provided. Later we found out that they started allowing traffic to go through a few hours after we left.
My point is that the parks staff was far from helpful or communicative. I was extremely disappointed in how they handled the situation in dealing with the public. That said Kudo”s are deserved for getting the park operational for the July long weekend. I have no doubt that they worked long and hard to achieve that task.
On another note following the severe thunderstorm on July 20. I was without hydro for 57 hours and can not say enough about the effort put in by Mb Hydro, their employees and support contractors including parks staff working to clear the trees from the Hydro lines to re-establish power to all affected. They deserve a big cheer from all of us.