Barkerville benefit a boon for Cache Creek

Fundraiser show successful, raises thousands for victims

Richard Wright and Patrice Bowler had a lot of fun during the auction at the Theatre Royal fundraiser for the Cache Creek flash flood victims in Martin Exeter Hall on June 5. The dedicated Newman & Wright Theatre Company cast finished an afternoon performance in Barkerville at 2 p.m.

The devastating flash flood that recently hit the Village of Cache Creek prompted some folks to hold a benefit auction and concert in 100 Mile House on June 5.

The idea was conceived by Richard Wright and Amy Newman (Newman & Wright Theatre Company).

Live entertainment was provided by Newman & Wright’s Theatre Royal cast, along with speakers from Cache Creek, 100 Mile House, Quesnel and Barkerville.

Wright says the event raised more than $6,800 for flood victims and their families.

“We were really pleased to do it and we felt it was a great success. All the cast was excited by it and it was a fantastic audience.

“They really did a bang-up job of it and that excitement also helped [in the success] I think.”

The benefit show happened in “large part” due to 100 Mile House Free Press publisher Chris Nickless, Wright adds.

While several people had told Wright it was a good idea, he says Nickless was the one who immediately seized and ran with it.

“It wouldn’t have happened without him.”

Nickless says it was an “unbelievable” show with great performances and a terrific turnout.

“A huge thanks has to go to the Theatre Royal for going above and beyond to make this benefit show happen.”

He notes the troupe was performing their regular show in Barkerville until 2 p.m. the same day, and was on stage at Martin Exeter Hall for the benefit by 6 p.m. and then back home at 2 a.m. before another show later in the day.

Many 100 Mile House and area, Wells and Barkerville merchants contributed to the auction items, and several local volunteers helped make the show a success.

Wright says in-kind donations totalled more than $10,000 for the cast’s time, the Red Rock Grill’s sponsorship, Barkerville’s personnel and a vehicle, and other show supports.

However, he adds hearing some Cache Creek residents are having difficulty getting financial aid from the province was “disappointing and distressing.”

One family was rejected because they had not moved into their new house yet, which was badly damaged in the flood, but had just sold the home where they were living, he notes.

Village of Cache Creek fundraising committee chair, Councillor Wyatt McMurray, says legislation is the issue, not the Disaster Financial Assistance program staff that is doing the best it can to assist the victims.

The program criteria restricts eligibility to flood-damaged homes that are principal residences for homeowners who have applied for the homeowner’s property tax grant, he explains.

McMurray notes another problem for many people with significant damage to their homes is that the funding covers only 80 per cent of the value of the essential needs in the building (not the property). He adds a family of two would be partly covered for just one bedroom, one bathroom, one dresser, one living room – not for the whole house.

Soon the displaced residents will be back in housing of some sort and in need of household items, furniture and clothing, but there is no place to store that in the meantime, he explains.

McMurray asks anyone with items they wish to donate to hold them for now, and to contact the Village Office at 250-457-6237 for details before bringing them anywhere.

As of June 10, a total $108,130 had been raised through the BlackPress4Good fundraising campaign, where donations can be made online at https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/8zs29.

McMurray explains the United Way is offering to match donations of $10,000 or more through its own campaign, online at www.unitedwaytnc.ca/cachecreek.

These donations then become part of the main BlackPress4Good campaign, he notes.

“The support, kindness and generosity of the surrounding communities has been just absolutely amazing.”

The local people in the flood-devastated community are also really pulling together in mutual support, he adds.

“It is absolutely painful today, but at the end of the day, we will be a stronger community.”

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