The five new recovery managers recently brought on board in the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) are already active in helping its communities bounce back after the wildfires this summer.
CRD recovery manager Stephanie Masun says she is working with the regional district as a whole, as well as co-ordinating with the four other recovery managers covering the municipalities of 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Wells until at least March 2018, and possibly longer.
More recovery managers are expected to join them soon from some of the First Nation communities, as well as some inter-regional communications just now getting off the ground between the CRD’s recovery team and the Thompson Nicola Regional District, she adds.
Aside from ensuring communications between the various managers by staying in touch with them regularly, Masun explains she is spending most of her current time and efforts talking to area residents and business owners to see what they need to recover.
Masun explains the recovery managers are all working both independently and together in determining what resources are needed to help those communities recover, including both their residents and their businesses impacted by the 2017 wildfires.
“Recovery is a process, and it takes time,” she says, adding the project is certain to be a fluid and dynamic undertaking that will need tweaking along the way.
“What it is going to look like will take time to make sure that the actions and the implementations fit the needs of the communities and the individuals involved.
“There is some significant front-end research and listening that has to happen, and that’s the stage that we are in.”
The consultation meetings were still underway this week and the CRD won’t be ready to publicly release the data collected or analysis reports until after staff has had time to review it, she notes.
Meanwhile, there are solutions being developed and implemented along the way, she says, including pointing folks in need of help to those supports already established, or contacting government and other agencies to request assistance.
Masun adds these existing solutions, for some, include the Canadian Red Cross, which handles case management, and other organizations serving aspects such as faith-based needs and mental health supports.
“There will be some challenges, and there will be some trends, so we will be looking at those with open eyes, and not making assumptions jumping in – absolutely, not making assumptions.
“There are some trends emerging that are being brought forward.”
Masun’s own, personal view after attending the consultations happening so far in Cariboo communities has been fairly positive.
“I think it’s been a good opportunity to connect with people in some of the different communities that have been impacted, and in getting to see people face to face.”
Masun is also pleased to be getting the word out there are recovery managers on board and available to everyone who needs assistance, with the names and contact numbers where individuals or businesses can find them, she adds.
Since beginning her new role for the CRD on Oct. 27, people have already been in contact with Masun following her attendance at the meetings and handing out her contact information, she adds.
While this face time has already led her to the beginnings of gaining an understanding the impacts of these wildfires on the different communities, residents and businesses, she says the team of recovery managers still has a long way to go.
“I do invite people to call me and tell me what their challenges are.”
She also wants to hear from folks of what some of their successes have been, as this also can help determine what works in finding the supports each individual, business or community needs.
Anyone needing help, or with other recovery experiences are welcomed to call Masun, who can be reached at 1-866-759-4977 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the project with contacts for all its recovery managers is also available online at www.cariboord.ca, as well as links for anyone wishing to donate to the project.
Masun notes the Wildfire Recovery webpage accessed along the right panel is being enhanced regularly with added resource contacts and links, so be sure to check for updates, as needed.