Six months after an atmospheric river event tore through downtown Princeton, B.C., recovery efforts are far from over. The town is in desperate need of funding to complete several infrastructure repairs.
The community remains under a boil water advisory, for which Princeton’s mayor Spencer Coyne said there is no timeline as to when that will be lifted.
“That’s going to have to remain in place probably until we are able to get a new well system,” said Coyne.
“Because they were overtaken by the river, we have to meet new regulations and new specifications. That is something we are working on right now. The engineers have come up with the pricing, they’ve come up with the plan we just need the approvals on funding in order to move forward on that.”
The town has applied for Disaster Financial Assistance (GFA), and the DFA team is now in the community to review the application.
“Our DFA is for our infrastructure that has been damaged by the atmospheric river and the flooding that occurred because of it,” said Coyne.
“Those would be road repairs, water lines, directional drilling that we had to do to get the water lines in place, sewer repairs — hopefully, our wells as well.”
On Monday, Coyne, the mayor of Merritt, and the mayor of Abbotsford along with several other community representatives met with the ministry to discuss funding.
“We are optimistic that we are going to see some funding not just through DFA but through the provincial government. Things are moving a little faster than they have been in the past,” said Coyne.
“There were about 30 of us in the meeting and we all met with Minister Blair and Minister Farnworth about funding and about what we needed and that was a consistent message from all of us is that the funding needed to come through faster.”
Coyne said that the town originally applied for $10 million in assistance, but that number has quickly doubled.
“Our number originally was going to be around $10 million, we are up to $21 million now. Now that spring has come, we are finding more things that are broken,” said Coyne.