A catastrophe has hit Merritt, the likes of which we have never seen. A huge portion of our city has been decimated. It was absolutely vital to restore essential services as quickly and efficiently as possible. Crews needed to be able to rework roads and sewers and water mains and check electrical and gas infrastructure as quickly and safely as possible. Had access to Zone 4 been granted before this work was done, most of us would likely still be on evacuation order – we would have no water and no sewer capability – which would mean no hospital, no fire protection, no business community. The amount of work needed to be done was absolutely staggering and I am in awe of our public works employees. Three weeks after unbelievable destruction, most of our city is functioning normally and 5,000 evacuees have returned home. That’s good news. We need to hear some good news.

But that victory has come at a price. A significant part of our community is still hurting – badly. They need our help. They have borne the brunt of this catastrophe. They have more than enough to deal with. There is more than enough anger and hurt to go around. They don’t need anyone sensationalizing their pain nor capitalizing on it. They need help. They will not be left behind. As precious as the items are that have been lost or destroyed, nothing is as precious as our loved ones. We can replace things, we can’t replace people. We need to be there for each other. We can rebuild – maybe smarter and better. We are stronger together. Folks, you can be part of the solution to help us get back on our feet; or be part of the problem by continuing to fan the flames of despair. Think about it. Please help.

— Kurt Christopherson, Merritt City Councillor