LETTER – Royston neighbourhood hosts emergency preparedness workshop

Thirty neighbours in the Laurel heights area gathered at the Royston Community Hall on Tuesday evening to assess our level of preparedness for when a catastrophic event occurs.

Leading us through the process was George Doerksen from the CVRD, using the “In It Together” program model. We discussed potential risks and mitigating factors for our location, out-of-area contact, emergency kits for home and car, and the kind of support likely to be available from various levels of government after the event. George reminded us all that recovery is what takes the longest, both in

structural rebuild and emotional toll. We’ll be relying on ourselves and our neighbours for at least days and very likely longer.

This gathering was meant to be a starting point for our neighbourhood. Often after a meeting, one might say “oh yeah, that’s a good idea, I should do that.” Time passes, and with no accountability, perhaps small things change or perhaps nothing changes. It is our hope that this event brings about even small changes so that we can better be prepared. Several people committed to making a change, and set a check-in date with a close neighbour. So, if there was an earthquake tonight while you are sleeping, do you have shoes under your bed and a flashlight close at hand to find your way to somewhere safe in your house? How will you make your coffee tomorrow morning with no power? These are some of the questions that we reflected on.

We are grateful to Thrifty Foods, Courtenay, for providing a gift certificate door prize; to Sure Copy for printing flyers; to the CVRD for George’s expertise, to the Royston hall for hosting the event, and to our friends and neighbours who came out on a cold evening.

Barb McKell,

Royston

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