A few thoughts from an old guy:  Why do we have so much water around?  Yes, weather has changed since the beginning of time.  However there have been floods and fires before so:

Growing up in the Mission/Abbotsford area, as children we used to tramp around the mountains.  The mountains/hills of Abbotsford, there was nothing but trees, bush, and blackberries.  As I recall there were two gravel pits and one auto wrecking yard.  

Today, driving past Abbotsford towards Chilliwack what do we see?  Hundred of houses (thousands?), paved roads/driveways, cement sidewalks, paved parking lots, roofs and/or other surfaces which water drains off.   Each house has one or more occupants – showers are used at least once a day; washing machines, dishwashers, power washers – washing cars, trucks, RV’s, driveways, etc.  This water is brought in from somewhere else or from deep down below the surface.  With rainfall added, where does this water go.  Water goes to the place of least resistance.  It is quite evident where it went this year, as with other areas with the same problem.

Merritt is a lovely little town, and when we visit we see the river meandering through Merritt either going to flood/flooding/or after the flood.  Every year there is the same concern and this year more than others.  Today, in Merritt, more housing, etc, etc, as in other areas.  What can be done????

Growing up alongside the Fraser River – it has/had the same problem.  As all rivers silt up.  When finally they silt up higher than the land beside them they overflow their banks, and as noted, taking the path of least resistance make a channel in any lower ground.  If the Fraser River was not dredged it would become unnavigable.

To solve the flooding problem, the river going through Merritt needs to be dredged.  The river should be straightened as much as possible as bends in the river lead to erosion during floods.  What is dredged out of the river can be put on the sides for dikes and road access.  Every so many miles (kilometres) there need to be spillways and small dams; also in convenient places small lakes could be made so all this water could be controlled, and at the end of the wet season the river/lake could be full.

The farmers would love it – irrigation –  more production on their farms – more revenue for Merritt; and also when fire season comes (and it always does)  water could be used for fighting fires.  If pumping stations were installed, it would be more efficient than a helicopter with a bucket of water.  Also give sections of forest to the logging companies so fire breaks could be made and maintained, which would also make road access into these areas.  This is kind of common sense which is rare these days.  If fisheries and/or other important groups say you can not do this – have legal documents ready for them to sign so you can have someone to hold responsible for the next flood/fire  just incase they have no common sense.

Also rather than building homeless shelters, allow the farmers to build cabins for the homeless where they can now find work (as the farms with plenty of water will be much more productive).

Water ways would also encourage/provide more recreation/tourists, in turn bringing more revenue into Merritt.  

To the people of the Nicola Valley, does this make sense? Let’s hear your comments – flood the paper with your comments and common sense.  When I went to school (which is awhile back) we learned that Government is by the people for the people.

Laurie Langill

Powell River, BC