A North Okanagan woman is pushing for provincial help after a slow-moving landslide left her home on the edge of an embankment.
Donna Sharpe was turned down for disaster financial assistance and says she’s been left with little choice but to return to a risky living situation.
Sharpe said a slow-moving landslide has eaten away at the land in front of her house on Albers Road near Lumby, B.C.
The unstable slope dragged parts of her fence down an embankment and left her porch right on the edge.
“There was a crack in the land to begin with and then all of a sudden it just started sinking and disappearing,” Sharpe recalled.
“It’s devastating; it’s really scary.”
The Regional District of North Okanagan issued an evacuation order in early May and Sharpe has had her rental accommodation paid for by Emergency Management BC for three months.
However, that rent support will end at the end of August.
Additionally, the province turned Sharpe down for disaster financial assistance because land had shifted in the area before and, the province said, the program is not meant to compensate for losses that are the result of ongoing, long-term situations.
Sharpe said without the rent support or disaster financial assistance she has no choice but to move back to her house at the end of the month.
“I have no finances to be able to afford to rent another place. My only choice is I’ve got to move back in here and I don’t know what is going to happen,” Sharpe said.
Regional district board chair Kevin Acton said a study determined Sharpe’s home was not safe to occupy.
“So our advice to her is not to move back into the house,” Acton said.
However, Acton said the regional district doesn’t have the capacity to step in.
“We don’t have the function or the ability to tax residents to repair other people’s homes,” Acton said.
Emergency Management BC said it’s supporting local government and other agencies to find housing solutions for residents like Sharpe impacted by the slope instability in the area.
However, Sharpe says, she so far hasn’t found an appropriate alternative to returning to a risky situation at home.
“If I would even just have help with rent, I would be satisfied. I do not want to come back to this house. I’m scared to come back,” Sharpe said.