Letters to The Sun, Nov. 27, 2021: Government needs to prioritize seismic upgrades and build emergency preparedness


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Subject: BC has been warned for years that Suma’s main dike could fail

Here, too, we are witnessing another environmental disaster here in BC with inept government warnings and post-disaster response. The Prime Minister has the cheek to say that despite numerous previous studies and warnings about the frailty of the Fraser Valley levee system, the flood “was not considered beforehand”. The only surprise with this is that the event occurred in the fall, rather than the predicted spring runoff. But we should know by now that global warming tends to create unprecedented events that will only intensify in the future.

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Given recent events, one can only imagine the devastation that will hit the Lower Mainland with the next megathrust earthquake and how ill-prepared we will be. Politicians will respond with statements like, “We knew we were in an earthquake area, but we could never have considered that.” Like the flood, science has been warning of this earthquake for decades. It won’t have anything to do with global warming or any other environmental factor, but it will happen. We just don’t know when. The government needs to accelerate the construction of seismic armaments, including schools (the deadline has been postponed to 2030) and step up emergency preparedness. Now listen.

Rick Gerbrandt, Vancouver

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As a proud Canadian since 1966 and an officially Dutch citizen, I am amazed that there have been reports suggesting that a great flood would affect the Sumas Prairie to the extent that happened.

In 1953, eight years after the liberation of Holland by Canadian soldiers, with great damage to the infrastructure by the occupation, Holland was hit by a heavy storm combined with a royal flood. In Zeeland, which is actually a delta with islands and peninsulas, dikes were flooded and broken, around 1,800 people were killed, numerous dwellings were destroyed and cattle were killed. The government promptly began, while it was still grappling with the aftermath of the war, to plan how to avoid such a catastrophe. When I left in 1966, construction work to build storm barriers in the Zeeland delta, at the mouth of the Rhine and other rivers, was in full swing and the dikes were being raised. Around 50 years later, these measures were completed with great effort. Several times the barriers have protected Holland, which lies well below sea level, from the anger of nature and saved a lot of money. Holland is now looking at the prospect of climate change. Not only do they take care of raising the levees, they also ensure that the dunes on the west side have enough sand and stay high enough to keep the sea out.

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The government did nothing for Sumas Prairie, which should actually be called Sumas Polder, even though it knew the consequences of a major storm and that the Nooksack River in Washington State would flow into our polder if it was flooded. “Forewarned is armed,” it says. However, the government decided not to do anything and therefore had no control over the events of the past week in an area of ​​great economic importance.

Margaretha Smits, Vancouver

Subject: Research Finds Seniors Are Struggling With BC Vaccine Card

Thank you to the researchers at Simon Fraser University who concluded that seniors were confused by vaccine information. However, I suspect that many people of all ages have realized that digital communication is far from perfect. Using clear, concise communication seems to be a problem as people lack editing and proofreading skills. It is not uncommon for word abuse, poor spelling and so on. Chances are these researchers had no intention of pointing a finger at seniors and maintaining a stereotype that they were unable to read and manage their affairs.

Kathleen Szabo, Vancouver


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