Pemberton and Mount Currie get ready for the clean-up 

With the worst of the flooding in the past people in Pemberton, Mount Currie and elsewhere are turning their minds to the massive cleanup operation that will need to take place.

The government has not yet released any figures for the damage, which includes washed out roads, damaged bridges up and down Howe Sound, damage to BC Rail lines, damage to parks and to Hydro operations including dams, spillways and culverts.

There is also the cost of helping the victims of the flood through disaster relief. Solicitor General Rich Coleman has put preliminary costs at a minimum of $25 million but most believe it could be significantly more.

Both Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner and Mount Currie Chief Leonard Andrew said the response of the provincial government and the Department of Indian Affairs has been excellent.

"They have been tremendous," said Warner of the provincial government.

"We have had three cabinet ministers here and each one has said: Tell us what you need.’

"I couldn’t have asked for anything better."

To date Chief Andrew has had the same experience.

"The Department of Indian Affairs on our behalf responded and worked along with the Provincial Emergency Program officials and said, ‘Whatever your needs are we will respond.’

"So we are hoping that they live up to that."

Many in Mount Currie had returned home by Wednesday, but some houses are damaged beyond repair or, like Andrew’s own home, remain surrounded by a lake of water.

There is also a boil water advisory for both Pemberton and Mount Currie.

Mayor Warner said Pemberton responded very well to the emergency and plans fell into place quickly.

While the community has dealt with floods before, in 1984 and 1991 most recently, the populations were much smaller. In 1984 there were only 323 people living in Pemberton. Now there are almost 2,000 with up to another 5,000 in outlying areas and Mount Currie.

At deadline two subtropical weather systems had dropped over 500 millimetres of rain in a seven day period, causing the region’s rivers and creeks to flood and leaving four people dead.

In Pemberton 285 people have registered with the evacuation centre. All have been billeted out to homes. It is hoped that evacuees in both Pemberton and Mount Currie, which evacuated about 500, will be allowed home for the weekend, as long as forecasts for fair weather hold.

There will be a meeting for Pemberton residents tonight at 7 p.m. so all can learn more about applying for disaster relief.

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