Editorial: Windstorm sharing session


Even though the devastating windstorm day is now two months in the past, people on Salt Spring Island are still talking about it, and for good reason.

As a report from a debrief session of the Salt Spring Island Emergency Program neighbourhood POD leaders articulates, the Dec. 20 windstorm and its aftermath was frightening, shocking and challenging, which almost anyone on the island that day can relate to. It brutally brought home our dependence on electricity, water and clear transportation routes, and how much work is involved in dealing with fallen trees and property damage of all kinds.

Windstorm debrief meetings have also been held by emergency service groups and the Capital Regional District, and neighbourhood action plans put forth by the emergency program. The island’s communication abilities should be greatly enhanced during future emergencies when the power goes out, with some 20 people signing up for an amateur radio course that began this past weekend.

But now the general public’s chance to weigh in on the windstorm experience has arrived.

The Salt Spring Community Alliance and CRD director Gary Holman have organized the meeting, which is set for the alliance’s regular monthly meeting day this Monday, Feb. 25 at Lions Hall. It will be an opportunity for people to talk about what they learned from the windstorm experience so that everyone can be better prepared both individually and as a community when the next emergency arrives.    

The current snow and deep freeze has in fact been a mini emergency scenario, with many people trapped on their property due to overwhelming snow loads on their driveways. The Emergency Operations Centre was set at Level 1 monitoring for several days, with regular communications bulletins issued by the emergency program, the EOC call centre opened around the clock, the POD system activated and Search and Rescue volunteers tasked to do wellness checks on residents known to be vulnerable.

With weather hopefully warming up soon, memories from December will soon fade. Monday night’s meeting at Lions Hall may be the last time we are motivated to get together to talk about the windstorm event and learn from each other through that discussion.

Don’t miss the opportunity to say your piece and listen to others as well.

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