Editorial: Reasons to be ready

Secondary emergency route desperately needed in Agassiz and Harrison

Last week, the province’s auditor filed a report claiming we just aren’t ready for ‘the big one.’

The folks at Emergency Management B.C. are so busy dealing with the emergencies that occur on a daily basis (flooding, fires) that there is little time devoted to earthquake planning. That means two things.

One, emergencies do happen.

Two, now more than ever, British Columbians need to be prepared.

For as long as most can remember, a secondary emergency route has been a dire need in this area. In time of an emergency, residents may need to get out just as much as first responders need to get in. In Harrison, residents and visitors alike are geographically limited by one main road in and out. That doesn’t leave a lot of options in the face of an emergency. Last year, an interface fire along Rockwell Drive threatened homes and cut off traffic to the east side of the lake. Residents were unable to return home, and campers were unable to leave the area as firefighters worked to knock down the flames.

It was a stark reminder how dependent we are on roadways to move people, food and medicine.

In Agassiz, the railway snakes through town, cutting its way through Harrison Mills, dividing Agassiz, and running along Seabird Island. In early July last year, a train fire just west of Agassiz was quickly doused by firefighters. Only a few days later, Lac-Megantic suffered a disastrously different train episode, when one derailed and caused multiple explosions. Half of that town’s business core was destroyed, and the event is now the deadliest disaster in rail history in Canada.

While it’s no need to panic, we must always remain aware that the trains passing through our communities have potential to shut down roadways, at the very least.

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Agassiz Agricultural Hall hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinics every Wednesday. District officials reported more than 300 doses are administered per week. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Walk-in COVID vaccine clinic scheduled for Wednesday

Walk-in appointments available while supplies last from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Most Read